Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lovefest


Fireworks: none. Boring: plenty.

Clinton Says She Can Control Her Husband


I know. It is pretty funny. Hillary should tour with Frank Caliendo.


The Jobs that Americans Won't Do (Part II)


Kevin, a long-time friend of ours owns a successful American company that sells metal fabrication equipment. His brother Jeff's comments were the subject of my previous post on the topic.

He adds: Plenty of decent paying manufacturing jobs for people willing to learn a few skills. But it's easier for politicians to place the blame on any unemployment on everything except personal responsibility. This article on AOL today is exactly what you were talking about.


Kevin weighs in...

It’s interesting. We see this everyday, but our high schools are dropping their shop and metals programs. Tech schools are full of classes for computers and dental assistants. High School counselors never discuss tech programs with students. Parents don’t want their kids to get “dirty” manufacturing jobs. Yet wages for these people are substantially higher than the fields these kids are being steered into. Jeff, you are right (boy did that hurt to say), we as a society like to blame everyone else.

Many liberal politicians conspire in this effort as well as continued promises of wealth transfer and personal bailouts from our federal government in exchange for votes has undermined the very people the liberals call their constituents while at the same time bankrupting our federal government.

HT Nate K

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Duh Bate

Clearly tonight's winner was Governor Romney. McCain stumbled and fumbled somewhat while Romney was ready to take McCain on, especially as it related to McCain's statements regarding Romney.

Romney handled the question regarding his business background lending itself to being able to run our economy better than McCain handled the question regarding his military background lending itself to being able to run our military.

Huckabee twice whined about not getting asked enough questions which served to diminish his role even further.

Paul was entertaining but irrelevant...as usual.

Entertainment value was high. The race for the GOP nomination is far from over evidenced by tonight's debate.

Ron who?

Riddle me this:


What is Huckabee...

...let alone Ron Paul doing on my TV screen tonight?

Wassup

Don't send a lame Starring You! eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Thanks Rudy


I like Rudy. I appreciate what he did for New York and his book, Leadership. Agree with his variety of Republicanism or not, he transformed what was one of the world's worst cities to live and work in into one of the best. He may have twisted a few arms and done some deals under the table, but he got stuff done and made things better for a lot of people. Read the book. It is the kind of leadership our national government needs.

Many have criticized Rudy for putting 9/11 in every sentence but we should all hope to have the opportunity to make such an obvious impact and gain such notoriety. There may be things he'd do differently in hindsight but who wouldn't use an experience like that to highlight your leadership in a presidential race?

His anticipated endorsement tomorrow could very well cement things for McCain but its too early to know for sure. Rudy's loss in Florida marks the end of his campaign for the nomination, and possibly his political career.

I hope not though because our country needs men like Rudy Giuliani to stay involved.

First Mary Jo, Then His Liver, Now Hillary

I think Obama would say Hillary's flavor of liberalism is old-school and his offers the "change" our country needs - the end to politics as usual in Washington.

Unfortunately Ted Kennedy represents everything, and I mean everything that is wrong with politics in Washington.

His endorsement is premature and will serve only to divide the DNC sooner and deeper than it already is.

You think Hillary was pissed before?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

As a Family

Number One Prepares the "Site" to be installed on JBird

Mrs. Roosh and I have a five-day vacation coming up in a few weeks. It will be our first event away from JBird for more than one night since she was diagnosed in June of 2006.

How do you plan for an extended vacation away from your baby girl when she has Type-1 Diabetes?

...when she has two older siblings?

You train them to care for their sister. That way, their "sitters" don't have to live with us for three weeks before we go.

Number One and Jujubee have been in diabetes care boot camp for several weeks and we couldn't be more proud of them. Not one complaint.

Number One (Age 12) oversees the operation and data input of JBird's Medtronic Minimed insulin pump.

Jujubee (Age 10) oversees the infusion site, which needs to be reinstalled every two or three days.

JBird (Age 9) tests her blood glucose level, counts the carbs she's about to eat, and asks for concurrence from Number One.

It's tough for Mrs. Roosh to stand back and let them learn and make mistakes as a team but she knows in the long run its best that JBird learns to be self-sufficient, but also to ask for help when she needs it - which can be tough for her because she's always been very independent.

But it's pretty tough to install your own infusion site, a long thin needle with a circular adhesive patch and a rubber hose connecting it with the pump...even for JBird.

Her siblings are literally keeping their little sister alive and healthy so that Mrs. Roosh can have a break. Watching them care for their sister's well-being is a proud moment and a moving experience.

Life throws us all challenges from time to time. I think a good way to stay sane is to try to find the upside in every challenge. To give thanks. In this case I can honestly say that JBird's diabetes has made us closer as a family.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stay Home

Your family, especially your wife needs you more than Minnesota does.

John Edwards to visit St. Paul
John Edwards, who finished a distant third in South Carolina’s Democratic primary, plans to bring his presidential campaign to Minnesota on Tuesday, the campaign announced Saturday night.

...unless you think a third place-showing in the state you were born holds some hidden message.

I don't think South Carolina is a secret admirer. They handed "it" to you.

Fred never quite got started but at least he knew when to quit; for the sake of his party, his family and his supporters.

Plus John, its really cold here, we were were on the other side of the civil war, it's windy so your hair will likely get dishevelled...you wouldn't like it here. Stay home.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

You've Got Mail

One of the Best Movies ever...

...one of the best Songs in a movie ever.

Once


Once is a little-known but quite astonishing Indy film that tells the intimate story of two lost souls living ragged lives in the tenement rows of the cold damp streets of Dublin. They meet on the gray crowded street, begin an tentative friendship and ultimately help the other find their way back through their complimentary and extraordinary musical talents.

"Guy", played by Glen Hansard is a broke street musician who helps his dad in his "sucker" (vacuum) repair shop and whose heart has yet to recover from the love of his life.

"Girl", played by Markéta Irglová is a near-single young mother and free spirit who lives with her mother, plays piano on the demos at the music store and wonders if her daughter's father will ever return.

In the mean time, "Guy" and "Gal" fall in love with each other as they express to each other the anguish of their past and their uncertain futures, together, or not?

Once was recommended as a musical, but not in the traditional sense. Produced with a $100,000 budget it's not even a typical Indy. A Will Smith movie spends that on Starbucks alone.

Rich with scenes of Dublin, romantic passages and musical vignettes, Once is a beautifully crafted, eloquently simple and surprisingly affecting film. The music, composed and performed by the players is as good as the film. I recommend the soundtrack as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two and a Half Days in the Windy City






The Pursuit of Happyness' Chris Gardner



Last night we watched The Pursuit of Happyness in anticipation of seeing the movie's subject, Chris Gardner speak to us this morning in Chicago.

The Jobs that Americans Won't Do


There is an email circulating the Internet that Algore invented...one of my friends rebutted it...good stuff.

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio(MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with gas (from Saudi Arabia) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA), Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL)poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA.
Y'all gotta keep this one circulating, please!

Jeff's response:

This is all a bunch of crap.

Wages and our standard of living have never been better that they are today. Sure, if you hope to grow up and put screws on widgets in an assembly line for the rest of your life, that job will not exist (thank God!).

My company is a good example. Sure I import product made in India, Thailand, Philippines, etc...

But because of that we employ 15 people, all of whom make as much or more than they would make in a factory job and enjoy their jobs far more. The ripple effect from the importing creates jobs in transportation (train company profits are at all time highs), banking, software, computers, etc...

Again, all jobs that pay far more. [My brothers' business] doesn't make anything either, but I'm pretty sure [my brothers] (or any of their employees) would not trade their jobs for the opportunity to slap lead based paint on toys for 12 hours a day.

The U.S. still has the world's biggest & best economy, with a tiny (by world standards) unemployment rate of 5%. People talk about not being able to find jobs, but I read articles about huge shortages in such decent paying fields as nursing and truck driving (an article in USA Today yesterday said trucks sit idle because of a lack of drivers). In North Dakota, farmers are paying up to 40K plus housing because they can't get enough workers (to grow the food that feeds those low paid factory workers around the world).

Name me one person you know who can't find a decent paying job? Hell, I've even heard [my brother] say that one of the biggest problems selling machines to factories is that the manufacturing companies in the U.S. can't get people to run the machines!

After WWII one of the most common jobs in the U.S. was telephone operator--the country needed millions of them to re-route calls. Now computers easily do the work and companies like Cisco (servers), IBM (large computers) and Windows (software) employ millions of much higher paid workers who probably enjoy their jobs a lot more.

Would we be better off if we had saved the jobs of those phone operators and kept that phone system? As you can see, you touched a sore spot. Compare the lives (more vacation, more interesting jobs, more disposable income, more cars, larger homes, bigger garages, more vacations, etc..) of all of your children and grandchildren with the lives of the average person in the 50's, 60's. None of us would trade places for a chance to make a coffee pot.

HT Nate K

Friday, January 25, 2008

Government Handout Announced


Get excited if you believe this sort of shallow, politically-motivated economic "stimulation" will have any effect on the economy beyond the first sixty minutes after everyone gets their check and pays off their Christmas (er-sorry-Holiday) Visa bill.

It sounds fair in that if our ill-advised legislators are going issue a "rebate", at least most of it appears to be going to those that actually pay income taxes. It would appear this is the best compromise the White House could muster.

Watch your mailbox in June.

AP: Congressional leaders announced a deal with the White House Thursday on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 to $1,200, and more if they have children.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would act on the agreement — hammered out in a week of intense negotiations with Republican Leader John A. Boehner and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — "at the earliest date, so that those rebate checks will be in the mail."

President Bush praised the agreement in a statement he delivered to reporters at the White House. "This package has the right set of policies and is the right size," he said.

The rebates, which would go to about 116 million families, had appeal for both Democrats and Republicans. Pelosi's staff noted that they would include $28 billion in checks to 35 million working families who wouldn't have been helped by Bush's original proposal.

Republicans, for their part, were pleased that the bulk of the rebates — more than 70 percent, according to an analysis by Congress' Joint Tax Committee — would go to individuals who pay taxes.

Individuals who pay income taxes would get up to $600, working couples $1,200 and those with children an additional $300 per child under the agreement. Workers who make at least $3,000 but don't pay taxes would get $300 rebates.

You mean handouts. Meanwhile our national debt grows, our dollar continues to devalue as our government hands out more money it doesn't have.

Why doesn't the Treasury just give us all Visa cards?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

What do I think you ask?

Fred's out. Never really was a factor. Sadly. It appears he's too conservative even for the GOP.

...although he shouldn't turn the bus back in yet. It might end up saying McCain/Thompson on the side soon enough.

Giuliani has virtually no chance of turning Florida around. He loses Florida? Rudy's out.

McCain sits on the center better than any Democrat. I'm not saying I agree with all of his positions but if the race for the nominations ended today, I think he'd be in receipt of his.

Edwards should be home spending time with his wife because he's wasting it out on the trail.

Hillary I fear is yet again discovering the liability that is Bill.

Right now it looks like Obama knows how to be like Bill Clinton better than Hillary.

So looking ahead, if I had to predict from here?

Obama v. McCain. McCain wins narrowly.

RCP agrees.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Love at First Sight

When I was a kid, my Grandpa had Cadillacs. Like the crew in Tin Men (one of my all-time favorite movies by the way) I think his cars were worth as much as his home.

In the seventies and eighties Cadillacs became lightly disguised Buicks and Oldsmobiles as GM in their arrogance began what has been generously called "brand management".

The low point? The Cimarron. The car that Cadillac would like to forget they ever conceived. A Chevy Cavalier with leather seats.

Now Cadillacs are becoming cool again...and to the buyers that Cadillac wants, the working affluent. Quality and design are both improving dramatically but they are still far from being the "Cadillac" of cars. But that may be okay. Today's Cadillac needs to be different. Today's Cadillac needs affluent and young buyers.

As my lease end approacheth, a Cadillac, the CTS, is on the list of "must drives" for the first time.


Cadillac CTS Coupe Concept: Reportedly will go into production in 2009 and be sold as a 2010 model.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War


Charlie Wilson's War is based on the real-life events surrounding the clandestine effort lead by Texas representative Charlie Wilson to defeat the Russians in the 1980's war in Afghanistan.

The opening scene depicts a high-flying congressman, cavorting with cocaine-snorting strippers and playmates and all but devoid of a moral compass. A blond Julia Roberts delivers a performance that is convincing if not a stretch for her; a wealthy matriarch constituent who charges Charlie Wilson with the mission of visiting Pakistan to witness firsthand the plight of refugees of communist aggression there. On his junket, we are to believe that he is moved to such a degree that he takes up a personal crusade to secure covert funding for weapons the Afghan rebels require to turn back the Russians.

In an early highlight we meet Gust Avrakotos, a powerful CIA utility player brilliantly played by
Philip Seymour Hoffman whose course and disdainful dialog with his superior officer pulls you in early, setting the stage for inevitable enlistment by Charlie Wilson, but also raising expectations that the film doesn't quite deliver on.

Amy Adams, recently of Enchanted fame, smartly plays Wilson's accomplished Gal Friday, a role that won't help nor hurt her promising career.

All in all, this is an entertaining film but alas, not even the master of characters, Tom Hanks can compensate for underdeveloped writing and direction that misses too many opportunities to engage the viewer emotionally. It fails on the fundamentals in that it never quite builds enough tension subsequently to be resolved. I give it a pass here as that's probably how the events unfolded.

And in fact, if it weren't for the film's offering of substantial historical and political context, Charlie Wilson's War would have little payload to deliver.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rebate or Handout?

An income tax rebate has been proposed by the White House and enjoined by a Democratic Congress to fend off a recession by stimulating consumer spending.

It reminds me of the two corrupt old guys in Trading Places...betting a dollar over their social experiment.

First of all, while these measures may in fact have a short-term benefit to the economy, it is doubtful that they will prevent a recession, a natural and probably beneficial part of our economic cycle.

Furthermore, now that the liberals have jumped on the bandwagon, the rebate idea stands a good chance of becoming yet another handout; transferring funds from those that pay taxes to those that don't. That is not a rebate.

From the AP via the Star Tribune:

The poor are the people most likely to spend a tax rebate, if they are handed one in an economic revival plan.

That a news service can make an unsubstantiated statement like that without attribution is disgusting. Who is to say that the poor would be most likely to spend the dollar? Furthermore, on what would it be spent?

Those that would label our mainstream media "liberally biased" need look no further.

Democrats want to make sure rebates get to more of the poor, including those who have jobs but earn too little to pay income taxes.

Isn't that pretty much the definition of being a fiscal liberal? Again; not a rebate, rather a handout.

The White House, for now, envisions providing one-time rebate checks to people who pay federal income taxes. That would leave out millions of the working poor, who do not make enough to pay income taxes but do pay Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.

Take note of the wording here. "That would leave out millions of the working poor"

As for me, you can keep your asinine rebate. I already give money to charitable causes every month. Leave me alone.

If you truly want to stimulate the economy, do it right. Do it permanently. Lower taxes for those that actually pay them; for those that hire and employ the "working poor".

That is what our Congress and White House would do if they truly cared about the economy versus buying votes for the next election.

Related:

Too Little, Too Late, Too Right


Fred Thompson will most assuredly announce his exit from the race for the GOP nomination after his showing in the South Carolina primary.

I was a fan of Fred Thompson's from well before his announcement to run but also a critic of his late entry, his campaign's inability to gain momentum and for Fred to become a factor in all but one of the debates thus far.

As the GOP platform has migrated further to the center to take up the slack of the DNC's slippage ever farther to the left, candidates like McCain and Giuliani will probably enjoy wider appeal due to their electability as many believe they straddle the center better than anyone else. Huckabee's campaign will soon also fall victim.

As for Romney - too soon to tell, and certainly not without a fight.

Admirably, Fred has been clear from the start as to his conservative stance on the issues. Alas, where he stands is apparently not where the majority of Republican voters are.

As for me, and especially as it relates to fiscal conservatism, what this means for our country is a question even more important than how it bodes for the election in November.

JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes: Mall of America

JBird's Team raised several hundred dollars for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund Saturday at the Mall of America thanks to friends, family and colleagues. Thousands of walkers and celebrities packed the mall. Representative Michele Bachman was there (she appears in the lower right of the second photo) as was Amy Klobuchar, who spoke but failed to impress, the crowd talking over her speech after the first minute or so.

Locally-based sponsors included Target Corporation who served up flavored waters in mass quantities, as was CH Robinson, Medtronic, KARE11, Ryan Companies, The Minnesota Twins, and Lunds/Byerlys.







Thursday, January 17, 2008

Honda: Diesel then Hydrogen


There has always been one engine that I have always wanted to own a car thereby propelled.

Now there are two.

Number One: Any car powered by a Honda V8 engine. Thus far, none exists. The outlook? Bleak. Honda should have produced a rear or all-wheel-drive Acura 4.6 TL...with a 300HP V8....while they had a chance.

I have owned GM V8's, Lexus (Toyota) V8's, Ford V8's and most recently a Chrysler 5.7 Liter Hemi V8. American V8's are relatively crude in comparison to their German and Japanese counterparts, but they stir the senses. Japanese V8's might as well be a big blender. Too quiet; no soul. But you know Honda's would have been different. Too late for that now.

There is only one thing that impresses me more than the aural rush and g-forces of overwhelming horsepower and that is ingenius engineering.

It’s difficult to ignore. Honda is arguably the best engine company in the world. I can still recall how silky smooth that CVCC engine was in my brother’s 1977 Civic. That’s 30 years ago, and that engine could be sold today and be competitive.

What other car company better exhibits the qualities of ingenius engineering, design, driver-centricity and value than Honda?

BMW comes close, save the value quotient. A $50K 3-Series with a cheap interior, unnavigable navigation system and precarious cupholders? No thanks.

Honda started as an engine manufacturer. Then came motorcycles. Then automobiles. In the late 80's and well into the 90's, Honda's Accord was so hot that dealerships resorted to bribes and racketeering to get more inventory. Don't believe it? Read this.

Number Two: Any car powered by a Honda Diesel engine. Thus far, none exists. The outlook? Improving. You know it'll be good. Smooth, efficient, torquey and fun. And it will probably get twice the highway miles per gallon and the same torque of a V8 twice it's size.

The world has been whipped into an Algore-induced froth over "Global Warming" er I mean "Global Climate Change." This coupled with the political reality that our dependence on foreign sources of energy threatens our country's security, the global automotive industry needs to pursue long-term solutions to our personal transportation needs.

But Hybrids, E85/Flex Fuel, and electric cars do nothing more than transfer the problem up or downstream.

In the interim, carmakers and legislators have to face the reality that many of the best long-term solutions have a long way to go before they are economically feasible, desirable and affordable for the mainstream.

Diesels are an option yet to be maximized, especially in America. Honda is ready to make diesels their interim option while their long-term technologies, hydrogen and fuel cells germinate.

Honda Stays Out of Plug-Ins. But Opts in For Diesels.

But with General Motors and Toyota vying to beat one another to market with hybrid electric plug-in vehicles, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Honda CEO Takeo Fukui says he’s just not interested. Instead, says Fukui this week at the North American International Auto Show, the company is pushing ahead on fuel-cell electric vehicles, which he believes Honda will be able to offer consumers on some affordable basis in ten years.

Fukui also said that Honda will introduce a clean diesel to its Acura line in 2010. It’s about time. With Honda getting into the diesel business, as well as Toyota, maybe diesel doubters will come to embrace clean diesel as a significant improvement over regular gas engines for big cars, SUVs and trucks.

Detroit 2008: Honda gives us a peek at the i-DTEC clean diesel

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

License to Wed


I'm going to cut The Office's John Krasinski some slack. He's pretty new at the movie thing...or maybe he just didn't have time to read the script before he signed. Robin Williams however has lost all credibility in my Netflix cue.

As for Mandy Moore, this is two bombs in a row. Ruh-Roh that is. I hope she has other skills.

License to Wed, which is a veritable The Office reunion, stands a fair chance of also finishing the movie careers of cast members Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner.

The precocious and porky little junior pastor character is a really bad idea; the most annoying character since Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars Prequels.

I'd love to tell you how it ends...we didn't get that far. Ejected and rejected. I am sure I have seen worse movies but I can't think of one at this moment.

A.O. Scott, NY Times: As for myself, I will confess that the only thing that kept me watching “License to Wed” until the end (apart from being paid to do so) was the faith, perhaps misplaced, that I will not see a worse movie this year.

This movie is a turd.

Say Anything


We will create new jobs," insisted McCain, who also favors improvements in federal programs for laid-off workers. "We have the innovation, the talent, the knowledge and the ability ... to regain Michigan's position as the best in the world."

Mr. McCain, with all due respect...Huh? The last thing Michigan or it's auto industry needs are more federal programs. What it needs is what its getting: the Japanese kicking their fat lazy unionized rear quarter panels...and deservedly so. If Michigan was ever best in the world at anything, the government won't put it back there. Besides, last I checked, my Chevy was hecho en Mexico. Is McCain changing parties?

"I will not rest until Michigan is back," said Romney, a native son who jabbed at his rival for saying many jobs among the thousands lost will never return.

Huh? Back? Is Michigan missing? Oh, I get it. Michigan is in the shape of a mitten....and the other one is missing! I must say, I share your frustration, Mr. Romney. A missing mitten or glove can be so frustrating. I support you for your vision to restore Michigan to its original location.

Meanwhile, back at the Clinton compound: "Both Senator Obama and I know we are where we are today because of leaders like Dr. King," Clinton said at a labor-sponsored birthday celebration in honor of the slain civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King. "We have to bring our party together and our country together."

Ms. Clinton. Curious. Just exactly how are you in any place due to the efforts of Dr. King? Did Dr. King speak out for the rights of rich, white, pantsuit-wearing, bra-burning women?

Senator Obama then respectfully asked Senator Clinton to please never again say "Senator Obama and I" in the same sentence.

Ms. Clinton could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What's in your cup?



This little passage, while all over the internet by now, is still worth repeating...

A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor.

The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee...

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering.

''You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones. While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued...''Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink. What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups... Then you began eyeing each other's cups....''

''Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us... God brews the coffee, but he does not supply the cups. Enjoy your coffee!''

The happiest people don't have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have... so please remember: Live simply. Love generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly. Leave the Rest to God.

And remember - the richest person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

HT Dad

Monday, January 14, 2008

Start your Car from Afar

The Suburban has a remote start feature in the key fob. You have to be within sight of the truck and it appears to have about a 100 yd. range, and it's a nice feature for cold Minnesota days.

But this blows it away...start, locate, and monitor your car's behavior from your smart phone.

Ever been sitting in a cafe in, say, Paris, and wanted to impress your new French friends by starting your car back in the States remotely? No, neither have we, but if the opportunity ever arises, Autopage can make it happen.

But those are not the coolest things it can do. If your car moves more than 25 feet without your permission (stolen, towed, rolled into a lake after you forgot the parking brake, etc.) you will be notified via text message...

...yet another feature: GPS tracking via your mobile. C3 shows you a map updated every 5 minutes of your car's direction of travel so you can help the fuzz track down the perp who stole your ride. Or you can use it to keep dibs on your teenager who's headed to Vegas instead of the movie theater.

Autoblog

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday JBird


Happy Birthday JBird, originally uploaded by jroosh.

Coffee Cooler Girl

Of Mice and Stick Men

State of Their Union



Saturday, January 12, 2008

McCain

Oil is up? Dollar is down? Look in the mirror, Nation.



I really liked this post and observed that Captain Capitalism's conclusions parallel those in the healthcare "crisis".

...if Americans insist on borrowing money from their homes to go and buy a big screen HDTV made in China, they are not producing anything of value here and therefore debasing the currency.

So if you want cheaper gas, cheaper imports in general, not to mention a whole slew of benefits that could be attained by producing more and spending less, take a second job, start paying off your debts. Quit using your house as an ATM and become an old school American. Increase the value of the dollar.

We have a dollar "crisis" because of our behavior as a society. We have a healthcare "crisis" because of our behavior as a society (among other factors).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tata Nano Smaller than a Piano


NY Times: Tata Motors today took the covers off the world’s cheapest car — the Nano.

Over the past year, Tata has been building hype for a car that would cost a mere 100,000 rupees (roughly $2,500) and bring automotive transportation to the mainstream Indian population. It has been nicknamed the “People’s Car.” Over the course of the New Delhi Auto Expo, which began this week, anticipation had grown to fever pitch.

Fever pitch? Over this? Obviously India does not share our enthusiasm for the open road.

"People's Car?" I think they mean the "Person Car."

Let's explore the benefits of this amazing molecule...

Save space; keep one of these in your trunk instead of a spare tire.

You know how new cars come with a plug-in for your Ipod?

This car is actually powered by your Ipod! …or your electric toothbrush for that matter.

Turn your two-car garage into a four-car garage! In fact, a garage may not be necessary. Due to the small footprint of this car, the National Weather Service has certified that there is only one chance in ten thousand that a rain drop or snow flake will strike the surface of this car while stationary.

Parking downtown too expensive? Park your car in your cubicle.

It's safe for your teenage kids because you can't get horizontal in the back seat. In fact you can't get two people in the back seat.

It's cheaper to manufacture because instead of an airbag, there is a can of shaving cream behind the dashboard that is exhausted in the event of impact.

Want to change colors? One jar of nail polish will do the trick.

Hey look! Tata spent more on their web site than the car!

They offer financing. "Pay for your Nano in three easy payments!"

HT Tim O

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When was the last time you heard this said about an American Car?


"Dealers still can't get enough of them."

I heard that said of the Honda accord in the 90's...the Lexus RX in the 2000's.

But never of an American car...especially a Chevy sedan.

Part of the problem can be attributed to pessimistic production levels but there may be hope for GM after all.

The Chevrolet Malibu continues to do better than GM expected: the General moved 12,172 of the new model in December 2007, a 6.7% improvement over the same month last year. There are two factories currently building the car, and demand for the 2007 North American Car of the Year finalist is such that dealers still can't get enough of them.

I somewhat predicted this: Do you think I'm Pretty?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Is it recess or not?



The U.S. economy is in a recession, a Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. economist wrote in a research note to clients this morning.


The cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy and the financial markets is a manageable challenge in 2008, according to the findings from an InvestmentNews survey of advisers.



"A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.

A depression is when you lose your job."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yet Another MMGW Prediction Fails to Manifest Itself


Man Made Global Warming fanatics repeatedly site short-term weather trends like a single year increase in hurricanes to support their politically-motivated government-funded liberal agenda.

Fair is fair.

Br-r-r! Where did global warming go?


THE STARK headline appeared just over a year ago. "2007 to be 'warmest on record,' " BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government's Meteorological Office, the story announced that "the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007," surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998.


But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.

Which of course proves Global Warming neither Global nor Warming.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Minnesota's Long Term Care Partnership Program



Longer long-term care, Star Tribune, Dec. 8th, 2007

The Legislature has given Minnesotans an enticing incentive to sign up for long-term care insurance. The new program, called the "Minnesota Long Term Care Insurance Partnership Plan," will give some policyholders a great way to hold onto more of their assets if they ever require extensive long-term care.

Essentially, this new program allows potential Medicaid recipients to retain assets they would otherwise have to spend down or transfer, to the extent that their long term care insurance policy provides coverage.

The demographics of our society and increasing life expectancies dictate that our citizens and their government will soon be faced with enormous financial burdens as a large segment of our population will require long-term care.

However, Government programs and articles like this one may do as much harm as good.

Long Term Care insurance gives policyholders a great way to hold onto more of their assets if they ever require extensive long-term care no matter what the government will, won't, can or can't do in the future.

If you don't have long-term care insurance, and you meet certain maximum asset guidelines, Medicaid will step in to cover the cost of your care.

Even if that were true, at what point does Medicaid step in and with what form of care?

Confusion arises because consumers are not educated as to what constitutes a long term care event and what Medicare and Medicaid covers, and even if they are, it could change at any time as our country faces monumental financial burdens in the not so distant future.

Most claims made on long term care policies are not for care in a nursing home. Medicaid can not be expected to cover anything other than the most severe cases, i.e. nursing home care, in the future if at all. This creates a gap in care between where your policy or assets stop and when Medicaid may kick in.

Furthermore, from a good friend of mine who is a marketing executive for a long term care insurance company "Partnership policyholder income is not protected from Medicaid and must be paid toward the cost of care (in nursing home or elsewhere if other options exist) with Medicaid paying the difference. This could affect the lifestyle of the other family members depending on this income to maintain their lifestyle."

A long term care "event" occurs and long term care insurance kicks in when a patient is no longer able to perform two of six listed "Activities of Daily Living" (ADL's) or has severe cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's. These ADL's are eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and continence.

As you can see, most ADL's have to do with mobility and as you might expect, a person qualifying for care may still live a great many years before needing an assisted living facility or traditional nursing home and yet the government will not step in, if at all, until that point and only if you have exhausted your liquid assets.

As such, there is a large gap between good health and mobility and a full-blown need for care in a facility or nursing home. Furthermore, statistically, care in the home occurs for a much longer period of time than care in a facility.

Statistics depicting the average nursing home stay at 2-3 years in length are misleading as it relates to the entire cost of long term care and the financial planning required to mitigate it. As it covers both in-home and facility-based care, this is where long term care insurance provides great value.

Again, from my colleague "The policyholder may spend his Partnership policy's coverage while still in the community. Since Medicaid pays little or nothing for care in the community, he/she might then be forced to invade principal or go into a nursing home."

Star Tribune: Long-term care insurance is most suitable for people with substantial assets to protect.

...or for those that prefer to receive care in their home and stay together as a family for as long as possible...or for those that choose not to rely on our government and have the means and the personal responsibility to do something about it.

If this new program results in more people buying long term care insurance, that is a good thing.

If it results in more people believing that our government will provide care if someone hasn't planned for their own care, that is a problem...it's not a great option now and certainly won't get any better.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

Oil Burning Bimmers Coming to America



Oil-burning BMWs are coming to the U.S., and they're coming packed with plenty of technology. Two models -- the 335d and X5 xDrive35d -- will arrive on our shores in late 2008 after making their debut later this month at the Detroit auto show. Both are designed to meet the stringent Bin 5 emissions standards and will be sold in all 50 states, according to BMW. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

Diesels have obviously been a staple in Europe forever. Fuel prices are a multiple of ours in the US, and the Europeans, ironically, have a more pragmatic view regarding emissions restraints.

For the cost-conscious enthusiast, diesels actually have a lot to offer. After all, American "muscle", usually provided by a large-displacement V8, is actually an expression of the torque-laden nature of American power plants. Torque is what pushes you back in your seat.

Diesels offer extreme levels of torque, even in a small displacement engine.


The ’09 X5 xDrive 35d and 335d arrive this fall with the auto maker’s 3.0L inline 6 cyl. twin-turbo diesel engine. The engine leverages a urea-injection exhaust treatment, which BMW calls BluePerformance, to meet 50-state emissions requirements.

The auto maker says the diesel develops 265 hp, a whopping 425 lb.-ft. of torque (576 Nm) and will push the X5 xDrive 35d from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.2 seconds while still achieving 19/25 mpg (12.4/9.4 L/100 km). It powers the 335d from 0-62 mph in 6.2 seconds and gets 23/33 mpg (10.2/7.1 L/100 km).

For example, the torque rating of BMW's 3.0 liter inline 6-cylinder diesel, at 425 lb.-ft. is higher than the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 in my Chrysler 300C, which is listed at 390 lb.-ft.
The new Suburban has even less at 335 lb.-ft.

The 6.2 Liter LS3 V8 in the 2008 Corvette is comparable at 424 lb.-ft.

The BMW offers the same torque from a power plant half the size and with more than 50% improved fuel economy.


I will be eager to test drive one of these when my lease is up.