Friday, April 28, 2006

How to Save GM

Auto-industry insiders have been asking: Can GM Be Saved?

I believe that the solution for saving GM has been found over at Michelle Malkin. I know that this post appears to be about whiny members of the press corps, but read the email at the end of the post from a GM employee for a way to boost morale.

It Pains Them to Say It

You know that, for the authors of this article in the NYT, writing it was like rubbing the soles of their feet with cheese graters and then plopping them in a vat of lemon juice:

"Gas prices are rising, as are mortgage rates. House prices in many once-hot markets have started slipping. The American automobile industry shows no sign of recovery. And the paychecks of most workers have not even kept up with inflation over the last four years.

Yet the national economy continues to speed ahead, with families and businesses spending money at an impressive pace. Forecasters expect the Commerce Department to report this morning that the economy grew at a rate of around 5 percent in the first quarter, the biggest increase since 2003."

Actually, the authors, after the lead, wrote a pretty fair and balanced (I didn't think it possible at the NYT) piece.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

We've Got What's Been Going Around

Apparently this one is going around again:

Participating in a boycott of selected oil companies will lower gasoline prices.

According to Snopes, this one has been around since 2001.

Why do people think that information in a chain letter is credible? And why do people think that the person who sent the chain letter has thought of something that no one else has thought of before? Just because the reader has never looked at that way doesn't mean it's never been conceived of before.

Simple rule of everything in life: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before you forward something to your email address book, do ten minutes of research and you'll probably just end up deleting it.

Amen, Thomas Sowell

I can't tell you how much I agree with Thomas Sowell. This guy gets it so right and explains it so simply. Here he is talking about oil and gas prices:

Oily Politicians

Courtesy of RealClearPolitics

If there is anything worse than partisan demagoguery, it is bipartisan demagoguery. Republican leaders have now joined the Democrats in blaming the oil companies for the fact that prices rise when demand expands more than supply.

Prices have been rising under these conditions for thousands of years, long before there were any oil companies. This has happened with everything from food to furs and it has happened among people in every part of the world.

What has also happened in recent times has been that higher gasoline prices bring outraged charges of "gouging" by Big Oil. Some of the most emotionally powerful political words and phrases are wholly undefined -- "exploitation," "greed," "social justice" and the perennial favorite, "gouging."

Are the oil companies charging all that the traffic will bear? No doubt. But they were probably charging all that the traffic would bear when the price of gasoline was half of what it is today.

Even businesses that are losing money are charging all that the traffic will bear. Otherwise they could raise their prices and stop losing money.

Most of the people who are making this claim are charging all that the traffic will bear for their own labor or the use of their own products. Dressing up the plain fact that we all usually prefer more to less in political rhetoric about "gouging" explains nothing. Something that is true all the time cannot explain drastic changes.

Is it rocket science that, when oil prices hit new highs, gasoline prices also hit new highs? Do you think the price of wheat could double without the price of bread going up? Would we have politicians running around spouting off about "gouging" by Big Wheat?

No matter how big American oil companies are, there are other oil companies around the world and the price of oil is determined in international markets. As for investigating Big Oil, that has been done time and again already, with nothing to show for it.

Is it rocket science that, when huge countries like India and China have rapidly growing economies, their demand for oil goes up by leaps and bounds? Is it rocket science that, when demand shoots up but supply doesn't go up as much, prices rise?

Prices are a symptom of an underlying reality. Politicians can seize on the symptom and even pass laws dealing with it, without changing the underlying reality.

Prices are like a thermometer reading. When someone has a fever, it is not going to do any good to put the thermometer in ice water to bring down the reading. If you think the fever is gone, it may not be long before the patient is gone, if you don't do something about what is causing the fever.

Ironically, the people who are making the most noise about the high price of gasoline are the very people who have for years blocked every attempt to increase our own oil supply. They have opposed drilling for oil off the Atlantic coast, off the Pacific coast, or in Alaska. They have prevented the building of any new oil refineries anywhere for decades.

They have fought against the building of hydroelectric dams or nuclear power plants to generate electricity without the use of oil. They love to talk about their own pet "alternative energy sources," without the slightest attention to what these would cost in terms of money, jobs, or our national standard of living.

Even when one of their pet "alternative energy sources" -- windmills -- is proposed to be built near them, suddenly it is not right to spoil their view.

Politicians have indulged these spoiled brats for generations. Now, when the chickens come home to roost, they are screaming about high prices and Big Oil. That is world class chutzpa.

Liberal politicians have played this game for years. With the help of the liberal media, they have so demonized oil producers and so replaced economics with demagoguery that now Republicans are running scared, which seems to be their favorite exercise.

Republicans have apparently decided that, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em.

Republican "leaders" have apparently decided to give up on trying to talk sense to the public. So we end up with bipartisan demagoguery.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Friend And Jessica Simpson

Here's a picture of my friend Michael with Jessica Simpson on the set of her new movie Employee of the Month:

It's a long story how he ended up on the set, but the bottom line is he's standing next to Jessica Simpson. I just got a whole lot closer to the world in the Six Degrees of Separation game.