Thursday, November 26, 2015

War on Coal presses forward

The US Senate just passed two "resolutions" one disapproving EPA regulation about to be applied to working coal fired power plants, and a second one disappoving EPA regulations of new and modified coal fired power plants. 
   Our noble NH Senators, Shaheen and Ayotte, vote against both resolutions.  Thanks guys.  I'm paying 25 cents a kilowatt hour and you voted to increase the price of my electricity.
   And "resolutions" are pretty weak tea.  You want to get EPA's attention? You cut off their taxpayer funding, all of it.  A "resolution" of disapproval doesn't mean anything. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Why are drug prices so damn high?

Answer: Because the drug companies spend to damn much on marketing.    The biggies all have armies of salesmen, with sample kits, company cars, and expense accounts.  The salesmen visit every doctor in the land at least once a month.  They take the doctor out to lunch, and they buy pizza for his staff.   At lunch they push their company's line of pills. 
   This is the most expensive way to market a product imaginable.  It works, and if everyone in the industry does it, everyone has to keep up.   Paying all those salesmen takes a big pot of money, and the drug company has to get the money from somewhere.  Guess where it comes from?
   Economical marketing is to merely offer the product on the Web and get some articles placed in the medical trade journals.  A step up from that is to open brick and mortar stores.  The special sales call is as expense as it gets. 
   Not sure what we can do about it, other than taxing it.  Right now, sales expenses are a legitimate business expense and can be deducted from income.   Not sure if I like the idea of the IRS telling companies how much they can spend on various business activities.  Maybe some public interest group could lookup and publicize how much the drug companies spend pushing drugs to doctors.

Lion's Gate disappointed in box office for Hunger Games Part II

Wall St Journal had this.  The opening weekend box office was $101 million, the lowest of any of the Hunger Games movies.  The was in the Business & Tech section which just writes about money matters. 
   Funny, they didn't say a word about the quality of  Hunger Games Part 1.  It was nothing like as good as the first one back in 2012. And I'm pretty sure every fan who went to Part I was disappointed as well, especially as the first one was one of the best movies Hollywood released that year.   So naturally the box office is down.  Make a poor movie and you don't make as much money. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Surveillance at Mosques

Dunno if I am ready for mounting video cameras on mosques, but I see nothing wrong with undercover agents going to a mosque, mixing with people, talking to people, finding out what is going down.  They are places of public worship after all. Terror plots are discovered and defeated mostly when someone gives the cops a tip.  To get tips you have to have connections, you gotta know people, they gotta know who to call or talk to. 
   BTW,  you don't want to close mosques, no matter how rabid they get.  As long as the mosque is open, it's easier to keep an eye on suspicious individuals.  Close the place and they just go underground, which makes it harder to keep track of  'em.
   You deal with rabid imams with informal pressure.  You find some community leaders, other clerics, parishioners, local businessmen.  If your police force is on the ball they will know who these people are.  You explain to this group that the imam is going over the line, that he is stirring up trouble, and you give them some good quotes from the Koran that counter the imam's rants.  Put your community leaders group together with the problem imam and have them apply some pressure.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What makes the Greenback Green?

The United States enjoys the best currency in the world.  You can spend US dollars anywhere.  People will buy our debt, US treasury bills, eagerly, even though they don't pay much interest.  It's a great deal, they give us hard cash, we give them paper.  If things get tight, we can simply print more greenbacks to make expenses, or redeem T-bills, and everyone will accept them.  US dollars are a pure fiat currency, we don't promise to redeem them for precious metals.
  The Russians would kill to have the ruble treated like the dollar.  Right now nobody will accept rubles in payment if there is anyway to avoid them.  Reason?  The Russians don't have anything to sell.  Rubles are only good to buy stuff from Russia, and who wants Russian made goods?  Driven a Russian built car lately?  The Russian airlines advertise that they fly only Western built airliners (Boeing or Airbus) rather than Russian ones, which have a nasty reputation for crashing.
   Whereas the holder of US dollars can buy top quality US made products, as much as they can afford.  We have the product to sell.  US dollars may not be backed by gold, but they are backed by the productive capacity of the US economy.  You need just about anything, you can buy it in the US,
  With one exception.  There is a US law preventing the sale of crude oil, something which we now have in quantity, thanks to fracking.  We ought to repeal that law, just in the interest of keeping the currency strong.  The greenies want to keep the prohibition on sale of crude oil, mostly 'cause they want to discourage oil production of any sort.   Well, even greenies gotta pay the bills.  We import a lot of stuff, and we gotta pay for it somehow.  And with Obama borrowing the country into who knows what, we need to keep the greenback green.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Let's change the name to confuse the ignorant

We used to call 'em ISIS or ISIL.  Now Obama and the newsies are calling them Daesh.  Wonder why that happened?  Has ISIS been so successful that they want to stop talking about 'em?  So change the name and who is the wiser.  Good work Obama. 

Where do I stand on Republican Presidential Candidates?

Well, actually I am still standing on the fence.  I have some problems with some of them, others are still pretty much a blank slate.
1. The Donald.  Fun to watch on TV, a great showman putting on a good show.  But he is a bull in a China shop and his mouth runs faster than his brain.  He has already offended a lot of people, and I figure if elected he would alienate everyone in the US in about two days, and everyone overseas in another few days.  How can a US president get anything done when everyone in the world is scheming how to get even with him?  The president's bully pulpit is one of the strongest things a US president has going for him.  It doesn't work so well when everyone is all mad at him.  Plus, early (not too reliable) polls show him loosing to Hillary. 
2. Rand Paul.  He is an isolationist.  He plans to pull back to North America and let the rest of the world go to hell in a handbasket.  This didn't work last time, in the 1930's the isolationists prevented us from dealing with Hitler while he was small enough to slap down.  That caused WWII.  Once is enough.
2.  Ben Carson.  Helova nice guy.  I'd go with him except he is so soft spoken I have trouble seeing a President Carson telling a Bashar Assad where to get off, let alone a real tough nut like Putin.  And he occasionally says things that make him look ignorant or naive. 
4. Ted Cruz.  Good talker.  Made a good impression at the Grafton County Lincoln Reagan dinner up here this spring.  Kimberly Strassel at the Wall St Journal thinks he is a opportunistic flip flopper.  She claims he is trying to woo Rand Paul isolationist voters by talking up isolationism.  She calls him a grandstander, who worked for a government shutdown over Obamacare, tried for a filibuster in defense of gun rights, and holding the Senate in session to protest Obama's immigration orders.  He has voted against defense authorization bills and voted to shut down NSA metadata collection.  Kimberley follows this stuff more closely than I do.
5. Marco Rubio.  Not bad.  Good talker.  Kinda young, but that might be OK
6. JEB Bush.   I'm not ready for a third President Bush no matter how meritorious JEB may be.  Seemed kinda lackadaisical on the campaign trail up here. 
7.  Carly Fiorina.  Made a fine impression speaking at the Littleton VFW in Sept.  She is smart, well informed, dresses appropriately (especially important for women), and knows her audience.  She was saying want the voters wanted to hear in Littleton.  Impressive resume, running Hewlett Packard puts her in the big leagues.
8.  All the rest of 'em.  Who knows?