photo by EfrankE

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Little Rascals?

I watched reruns of the Little Rascals on our old black & white TV set on afternoons when I was in elementary school. My kids watched them on video release back in the 1980's. I think my parents, at least my mother, watched the original releases during their/her childhood.

There was something about the creativity and can-do attitude of the Our Gang group that, more than just their escapades and antics, appealed strongly to our young hearts.

The short black & white films placed the Little Rascals in their own inventive and engaging world, an adult-imitative but child-centered one, and one we could easily picture ourselves in, as well.

Following their young acting careers, life for the series' child stars became harder and, in many cases, ended tragically.

This link is to a web page summarizing the adult lives of many of those featured in the Our Gang films.

Canada Housing Market to Follow U.S./Hawai'i Experience?

Hawai'i, especially on the Big Island, has been experiencing steep deflation in the housing market. Construction jobs are at about 30% unemployment here now. The residential real estate market has been in the doldrums for a couple of years now.

Investment advisor, Mike "Mish" Shedlock, in commenting on the current condition of the real estate market in Vancouver and Calgary, Canada, identifies a post-peak pattern of housing market declines in the U.S. His pattern appears to be very close to what we observed in the Big Island housing drop. It is worth a look for future reference. Here it is:

Housing Collapse Cascade Pattern

- Volume drops precipitously
- Prices soften a bit
- Inventory levels rise slowly
- Higher-end home process remain relatively steady for a brief while longer
- The real estate industry tries to convince everyone it's "business as usual" and homes are affordable because rates are low
- Bubble denial kicks in with media articles everywhere touting the "fundamentals"
- Stubborn sellers hold out for last year's prices as volume continues to shrink
- Inventory levels reach new highs
- Builders start offering huge incentives to clear inventory
- Some sellers finally realize (too late) what is happening
- Price declines hit the high-end
- Increasingly desperate sellers get creative with incentives, offering new cars, below market interest rates, trips, etc.
- Gimmicks do not work
- Price declines escalate sharply at all price levels
- The Central Bank issues statements that housing is fundamentally sound
- Prices collapse, inventory skyrockets and builders holding inventory go bankrupt

Mish notes, "Some of those may happen simultaneously or in a different order, but the whole mess starts with a huge plunge in volume."

Click here for the entire article.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What Did They Know That We Must Never Forget?

Answer: That rights have been conferred upon men by God and that governments must be established to protect those rights. Rights cannot legitimately originate in politics by the whim and will of men of power.


"The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

-That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

-That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

-Such has been the patient sufferance of the Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Politicians Orate, and I Go, Huh?

I want to try to get to bed early tonight so I’m going to try to clear my mind here of a few statements by the political leadership of the country that jump the rails of the logic lines most of us are born with.

Today, the president again stated that it is impractical to enforce the country’s immigration laws, given that there are 11 million illegals in the United States and the manpower is just not there to do the job.

Huh? Given that there are about 138 million taxpayers in the country, using the same logic, why wouldn’t he declare that it is impractical to enforce income tax laws in the United States? Presumably, it would take more manpower to enforce these much more complex laws. Oh, right, I just remembered, the government is hiring 16,000 more IRS agents to enforce compliance with the new health care bill. Perhaps that’s why there isn’t the manpower available to enforce immigration laws and provide border security.

Still, that is not the greatest inconsistency in his argument. There are three others:

1.) He supports a system that holds undocumented immigrants “accountable” by having them pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English and become citizens. Huh? If we cannot hold them accountable to existing immigration laws, what logic is there in assuming they will find it desirable to be accountable to a list of requirements they can already ignore? Especially, if enforcement manpower is impractical?

2.) The president further stated regarding immigration reform, “I’m ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward… Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes. That is the political and mathematical reality.”

Huh? Actually, Mr. President your Democratic party holds the Executive branch of the government as well as both bodies of the Legislative branch. You passed a widely unpopular health care bill under the same conditions. How can you say you don’t have the votes? The Republicans have been little more than eyewash since your election.

3.) He asserts that we cannot remove illegal aliens because they have become woven into the fabric of the country. Huh? Couldn’t organized crime syndicates be excused using the same reasoning? Have a look at the movie, The Godfather.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is seen here on video stating that unemployment checks are the fasted way to create jobs. Again I say, huh? Do the unemployed use the money to help capitalize new businesses and industries, or apply it through investment to the most market-efficient allocation? That’s how jobs are formed. Otherwise, taking money from A (whether a current earner or one yet unborn) and giving it to unemployed B doesn’t grow the economy one dollar or create new, at least in any sustainable sense, jobs.

I’ve gotten used to politicians lying blatantly. What really disgusts me is when they treat us like morons, which they do when they speak in ignorance, factual error and logically inane statements, and then attack us with ad hominem insults when we disagree with them or call them out on their unsupported assertions.

And by the way, a tax increase at this stage, without iron-clad budget and spending reductions is like tying the economy to an anvil before throwing it off the bridge.