Red Herring Anyone

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As a semi-retired person the current economic environment has made it very hard to get any kind of return on my money and I would like to see interest rates begin to go up sometime soon. With interest rates at virtually zero, money market accounts and certificates of deposit are paying close to nothing at all.

During the coming week, the Federal Reserve as this article points out is going to announce plans to print more money (QE2) in a effort to boost the economy, create jobs, avoid deflation and thus keep interest rates low. How much more money the fed is going to print has yet to be determined.

The thing I found quite interesting about this article is the writers premise that he believes the “true purpose of QE2 is not to do what’s mentioned above, but to disquise the decreasing ability of the treasury to finance its debts because global demand for our debt is falling.”

Lets face it, we all know that sometime in the future (if not already) China is probably going to scale back their purchases of our debt and when that does happen as the author says “if the truth be known a real panic would ensue”. 

One of the amendments added by independent Bernie Sanders from Vermont, to the Wall Street Reform Bill passed earlier this year, was to have the General Accounting Office audit the fed periodically, but the language was watered down and the audit now only applies to emergency spending by the fed.

So much for government transparency !

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A Double Script Ohio In The Twin Cities

Friend and faithful blog reader Mike N. went to the Windy Cities last night and sent along this classic picture of The Best Damn Band In The Land performing a double Script Ohio at last night’s game.  It’s always great to see TBDBITL do Script Ohio in Ohio Stadium; it’s even more of a treat to see the Band perform their signature piece on the road.

It would be interesting to see what the Buckeyes’ record is for Big Ten games when the Band is in attendance.  I imagine it is pretty good — the Band always seem to give the football team a lift.

Beginning To Question The Dude

As we close in on Election Day, the professional punditry is talking a lot about President Obama.  They are arguing about whether it was smart for him to appear on The Daily Show, where he was called “dude” and his administration was the butt of gibes by Jon Stewart.  (Stewart’s reference to the President as “dude” made me laugh and think of Richard’s classic post, The Follies of Dudism.) They are speculating about whether he will “pivot” or “triangulate” or pull a Bill Clinton if the Republicans take over the House of Representatives.  They are questioning whether the President has lost the communications war and failed to explain the many “accomplishments” of his Administration to the American people.  John Kerry, for example, apparently thinks the American people are becoming a bunch of ignorant “know-nothings.”

Maureen Dowd’s column yesterday is along such lines.  She is starting to question the President and wondering when he is going to show the political deftness and communications skills he was hailed for in 2008.  You can see that some skepticism is beginning to creep in — she notes, for example, that the President will need to summon “political skills that he has not yet shown he has” — but she still speaks of the mysterious failure to convince the public of his “achievements.”  She suggests that he hasn’t used his “charm” as effectively as he could have and didn’t realize he needed to “sell” his ideas or respond to attacks, all of which has caused people to rush into the arms of “disturbingly inferior pols.”

I don’t remember President Obama being shy about talking to us about why he believed that the “health care reform” legislation was great, or how the “stimulus” legislation would be an engine for job creation, or why we needed to bail out GM and Chrysler and shield them from the consequences of decades of crappy products and poor business decisions.  I think there is a simpler explanation for the President’s current predicament:  the American people do understand what he has done and don’t really consider most of it to be an “achievement.”  And at some point, the punditry may come to recognize that, perhaps, President Obama is not quite the infinitely charming, brilliant, awesomely superior politician they still consider him to be.  They may look at his actual political record and realize that no master politician would have managed to take a sweeping electoral victory, huge majorities in both Houses of Congress, and the legitimate good wishes of a large majority of the American people and in two short years fritter it away to the point where the President’s party is on the brink of absorbing an historic defeat at the polls.

I think it will be good for both the President and the country when the public comes to realize that he is not some otherworldly figure.  He will be able to serve in his office unburdened by unattainable expectations.  The American people, on the other hand, will learn once again that we should not look to politicians for immediate salvation.

A Win And A Bye

Ohio State avoided a trap game last night.  They waxed the struggling Minnesota Golden Gophers, 52-10, in Minneapolis.  The Buckeyes now get a week off to heal and prepare for the last three games of the regular season, against Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan.

The Buckeyes played well.  They racked up more than 500 yards of total offense, and both the passing game and the running game were hitting on all cylinders (although Terrelle Pryor, who otherwise has an excellent game, no doubt wishes he could take back an ill-advised pass that was intercepted at the Minnesota goal line).  Defensively the Buckeyes gave up a few long passes down the middle but otherwise held a pretty good Minnesota offense in check.  The Buckeyes blew the game open by scoring 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, then added a special teams score and a defensive touchdown in the second half.

It’s hard to know what to make of last night’s game, because Minnesota clearly is not a very good team right now.  The Buckeyes should be satisfied with their win and will look forward to a bye week to rest up and get ready for the final push.  Currently Ohio State is one of four one-loss teams atop the Big Ten — Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa are the others — and the tough, bad-weather games on tap for November will tell the tale in the battle for the conference championship.

Small College Football

Today the Purple Raider, the Yankees Fan, and Old Rosie and I went to watch an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup at the Otterbein College field in Westerville, one of the suburbs of Columbus.  The mighty Mount Union Purple Raiders ultimately prevailed over the doughty Otterbein Cardinals, 28-10.  It was a somewhat lackluster game, but a lot of fun to watch nevertheless.

The Otterbein Cardinals take the field

The OAC is Division III football.  If you are used to Division I football of the Ohio State variety, as I am, Division III is something of a shock.  The facilities are much smaller — Otterbein basically has a large structure on the home side of the field and small bleachers on the visitors side — but that just means that you can get closer to the field.  The players are smaller, too, and slower, but blocking is blocking and tackling is tackling.  You can still appreciate a well-run play when the running back is 5′ 8″ and 170, or a good solid hit when the defensive lineman is 5′ 11″ and 230 pounds.  And because you are closer to the field in a much smaller environment, there is a chance that a well-timed bit of heckling could actually be heard by the coach.

The Otterbein band lets loose

We sat right in front of the Otterbein Band, and they added a lot to the game.  The bandies lent spirited support to the Cardinals on the field, playing song snippets after just about every good Otterbein play and verbally harassing the refs and the Mount Union mascot, a large purple parrot with a sword.  At the end of the third quarter the band broke into a fine rendition of Hey Baby (I Want to Know if You’ll Be My Girl), with most of the bandies singing along.

It cost $5 to get into the game, and $2 for a hot dog.  It was worth every penny.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

When I woke up today I was very hungry.  It was dark.  I sat patiently in my crate.  A long time later the old boring guy came down to feed me.  He never gives me as much food as I want.  Today was no different.  Seriously, what is up with that?  I am hungry!

I looked around the food room for more food but there wasn’t any.  There usually isn’t.  I always look, though.  You never know.

Then we went outside for our walk.  I was happy because it was cold for a change.  The ground felt cool under my paws and the grass was cold against my snout.

I like cold weather better than hot weather.  What do you expect?  I’m covered with fur.

The Ever-Present Specter Of Terrorism

The latest news about an apparent terrorist exercise is just a reminder that terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are out there, probing for weaknesses and looking for opportunities to pull off some new form of attack against the United States.  It is encouraging to see that our intelligence services, no doubt working with intelligence services abroad, were able to detect this latest effort — and I am confident that for every success that is the subject of coverage in the news media there are hundreds of successes that are never disclosed in order to not reveal secret sources or methods.  In any case, we should all commend our government on its vigilance in this case.