So what is in the new EU deal?

A nice summary is available here:

Q: How will greater fiscal austerity be achieved?
A: All countries that commit to the treaty cannot allow their annual deficits to exceed 0.5 percent of economic output in normal times. That cap can be broken -- and rises to 3 percent -- if there's a recession or other exceptional circumstances.
• There will be automatic penalties for countries whose deficits exceed 3 percent of GDP. In 2010, 23 out of 27 EU states had deficits of more than 3 percent.
• The European Court of Justice will make sure all states play by the rules.
• All states have to tell their partners in advance how much debt they plan to take on through bond sales.

From the Washington Post:

“This new agreement does nothing for the crisis,” said Daniel Gros, the head of the Center for European Studies, a Brussels think tank. “I doubt it will be implemented as planned.” . . .

Even if it goes into effect, countries could just ignore its requirements, which France and Germany did with a similar agreement in 2003, when they successfully lobbied to loosen requirements after economic problems pushed their deficits past the limits.

Nor is it clear that the deal is enough to satisfy demands from the European Central Bank. Bank President Mario Draghi said Friday that he felt the results were positive, but Reuters reported that the bank was instituting a new cap on its current, modest efforts to lower countries’ borrowing costs, citing bank sources. . . .

“Financing government debts by printing money is and will remain prohibited by treaty,” he said. . . .

UPDATE: The impact on stocks from the EU deal isn't as obvious as some claim. British stock rise on news that the UK won't go along with new EU agreement: "U.K. bank stocks rally after Cameron’s opt-out"

Britain’s benchmark index rose and bank stocks rallied Friday after British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected a proposal by European Union leaders for closer fiscal ties.

Shares in Lloyds Banking Group PLC UK:LLOY +6.33% advanced 6.5% and Barclays PLC UK:BARC +4.74% climbed 5.4%. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC UK:RBS +5.11% rose 5.1%.

The FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +0.83% rose 0.8% to 5,529.2.

The benchmark index shed 1.1% in the previous session after the European Central Bank cut interest rates and ECB President Mario Draghi dashed hopes that the institution would ramp up its bond-buying program.

An EU summit ended on Friday with euro-zone leaders agreeing on a new inter-governmental treaty that will lead to closer fiscal union in the region. In a statement, the leaders said that nine countries outside the currency zone — with the exception of Britain — may join them in forging closer fiscal ties.

Earlier on Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he opted out of the treaty because ”it isn’t in Britain’s interest.”

Richard Perry, chief strategist at Central Markets, said Cameron’s decision not to support the treaty change had a positive effect on the financial-services sector.

“The opt-out that Cameron chose to take has meant that a financial transactions tax will not apply to the U.K. now and financial stocks are being buoyed by that,” Perry said. U.K. PM Cameron rejects EU plan. . . .


Obama: "I didn't overpromise"

Does anyone remember this interview with Obama in February 2009?

Matt Lauer: At some point will you say, "Wait a minute, we've spent this amount of money. We're not seeing the results. We've got to change course dramatically?" . . .
President Obama: Look, I'm at the start of my administration . . . And — and, you know, a year from now I think people — are gonna see that — we're starting to make some progress. But there's still gonna be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's gonna be a one-term proposition.
Interview on NBC’s Today Show, February 2, 2009

What about all the administration promises about what would happen to the unemployment rate? Now this weekend on 60 Minutes when asked about the high unemployment rate, Obama says this:

I didn't overpromise. And I didn’t-- underestimate how tough this was going to be. I always believed that this was a long-term project…And-- you know, for individual Americans, who are struggling right now, they have every reason to be impatient. Reversing structural problems in our economy that have been building up for two decades, that was going to take time. It was going to take more than a year. It was going to take more than two years. It was going to take more than one term. Probably takes more than one president.

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Newest Fox News piece: Fast and Furious Scandal Cries Out for Answers

The way my newest Fox News piece starts:

The "Fast & Furious" scandal is getting messier and messier. New e-mails finally released late this past Friday reveal that the Department of Justice personal viewed the then-secret operation as a way to push for more gun control laws. Despite administration promises to the contrary, whistleblowers have endured "isolation, retaliation and transfer."
Meanwhile the operation's managers have done pretty well, some have even received promotions.
Thursday Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that the operation was "wholly unacceptable," but he still offers absolutely no explanation to explain why the program was instituted.
What's going on here? Let's see...
- You have a government agency ordering gun dealers to make sales to suspected criminals that the dealers didn't want to sell to. - You have government agents testifying that the guns being purchased were not being traced. No attempt was made to even alert the Mexican government that the United States of America was given guns to drug gangs in their country. . . .

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The Norman Eisen story, the workings of the Obama administration

From Byron York:

Walpin was the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the organization that runs the AmeriCorps service program. In June 2009, Walpin received a call from Norman Eisen, who was then the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform. Eisen told Walpin he had an hour to either resign or be fired.

Eisen's call appeared to violate the 2008 Inspectors General Reform Act, which is designed to protect inspectors general from political interference. The Act requires the president to give Congress 30 days' notice, plus an explanation of cause, before firing an inspector general. In Walpin's case, the White House did neither. . . .

Eisen told congressional investigators the White House had done a full investigation of complaints about Walpin's performance and the CNCS board had unanimously supported Walpin's removal. Neither statement was true. . . .

In a meeting with Grassley, Eisen apologized for his statements to investigators. In the letter, Eisen writes, "It is now my understanding that I answered a few of the questions inaccurately, although at the time I thought they were accurate. Of course, it was not my intent to mislead staff in any way, but to the extent that I was unclear in my responses, or that my declining to answer questions created confusion, I regret it and I sincerely apologize."

It's not the admission of lying that some Republicans wanted to hear. But after receiving the letter, Grassley decided to relent. "It was clear to me that Mr. Eisen made false and inaccurate statements," the senator said in a statement. "He personally apologized and admitted to the basic factual findings of my inquiry, which was enough for me to allow the Senate to work its will in the confirmation process." . . .



How much money are we losing on the strategic oil reserve?

We have spent a lot of money on the strategic oil reserve. The reserve has been around since 1975. What have been the interest costs alone in for the money used to buy the oil? "As of May 31, 2011, the current inventory was 726.5 million barrels. This equates to 34 days of oil at current daily US consumption levels of 21 million barrels per day." Suppose that we sold the 726.5 million barrels at $90 a barrel. That comes to a value of $65.4 billion. At 3.5% interest with continuous compounding, the principal doubles every 20 years. At 5%, it doubles every 14 years.



Electric Vehicle sales below predictions

Who knows what next year will hold and the predictions are all over the place. What is clear is that electric vehicle sales are below predictions. From CNET:

Morgan Stanley estimates there will be 18,000 plug-in hybrids and pure EVs sold in the U.S. this year, which is slightly below its previous forecast but international sales are 30 percent below its prior estimate.
Those muted numbers were the reason it downgraded Tesla Motors to underweight today. "While we're still in the very early innings of vehicle electrification, the commercial progress of EVs in the marketplace has been mixed at best, and largely been unimpressive to date," Morgan Stanley's note said, according to Business Insider. . . .

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Was "Fast and Furious" a plot to push new gun control laws?

Forcing gun dealers to make sales that they didn't want to make. Not tracing the guns so that the policy would be of any crime stopping value. It is hard to think of any possible legitimate benefit that would come from this program. Democrats have yet to offer any legitimate explanation. Indeed, they haven't really tried. Now comes this from CBS:

Documents obtained by CBS News show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales.

In Fast and Furious, ATF secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the "big fish." But ATF whistleblowers told CBS News and Congress it was a dangerous practice called "gunwalking," and it put thousands of weapons on the street. Many were used in violent crimes in Mexico. Two were found at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

ATF officials didn't intend to publicly disclose their own role in letting Mexican cartels obtain the weapons, but emails show they discussed using the sales, including sales encouraged by ATF, to justify a new gun regulation called "Demand Letter 3". That would require some U.S. gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or "long guns." Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information. . . .


Wisconsin adopts Castle Doctrine

I will have to soon up date the research on this issue that is in More Guns, Less Crime. From the AP:

Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that allows homeowners to legally kill intruders.

The bill, nicknamed the "Castle Doctrine," creates a presumption of legal immunity for someone who kills or injures a person breaking into his or her home, vehicle or workplace. The measure requires a judge to presume that the use of deadly force was necessary.

The immunity presumption would not apply to a shooter who attacked someone he or she should have known was a public safety officer. . . .



$3.42 for the Kindle version of the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime

$3.42 for the Kindle version of the third edition of More Guns, Less Crime! The third edition came out last year and it has about 200 pages of new material over the second edition (2000) and about 300 pages over the first edition (1998). I am going to have to give them a call tomorrow a find out what is going on because at that price I am getting a royalty of a couple of dimes. At least a lot of people will hopefully final get a copy at that price! The book is available here.


Well Carbon Sequestration will pay when Carbon reaches $1,000 a metric ton, right now it is at $0

Any day now it will be economically viable to pay to sequestrate carbon, right? Hardly. Does anyone really believe that the harm from carbon in the atmosphere is $1,000 per ton? Note that even liberal William Nordhaus says that the optimal carbon tax is $7.40 per ton. Some others say that it is $10 to $20. This article from USA Today is interesting:

"Several researchers investigating chemical systems for capturing CO2 from the air have suggested that air capture could be a viable climate mitigation technology costing no more than a few hundred dollars per tonne of CO2 avoided," begins the study. "It has been further argued that air capture may be cost-competitive with more accepted climate change mitigation options like renewable power, nuclear power, and CO2 capture and storage from large stationary sources (carbon capture and storage, CCS)." CCS would stream concentrated carbon dioxide from smokestacks deep underground into inert geological layers capped by impermeable rock.

In 2009, US Presidential Science Advisor, John Holdren, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, for example, proposed, " capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air as an option that may be needed for stabilizing global CO2 concentrations and, thereby, global temperatures," notes the study.

After all, engineers have pulled carbon dioxide from the air to allow for chemical production of gases from the air since the 1930's. Both absorbent and more traditional "scrubber" technologies exist to pull off the trick.

Carbon dioxide can be pulled from the air, concludes the study, but concentrating it into a stream needed to store the stuff for thousands of years looks tough. Overall, given trends in costs to remove carbon dioxide and physics, the technology looks to break even in terms of cost only when atmospheric carbon is worth $1000 a metric ton (its value is now roughly zero in much of the world.) . . .

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Nuclear power plant brings endangered crocodile species back from brink of extinction

The Nuclear Power Plant is helping not just the crocodile species but also manatees and loggerhead turtles. Rather than seeing if this can be repeated in other places, a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service warns: "We wouldn't advise people to normally make those types of impacts." Anyway, this seems like a nice benefit from nuclear power. So what lessons does this have for the Endangered Species Act which forbids any development around endangered species? From blogger Eric Pfeiffer:

. . . The Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant in southeastern Florida has been so good to the American crocodile that the reptile was recently taken off the endangered species list. But the croc's newly thriving condition has nothing to do with nuclear power itself; rather the species has cottoned to the 168 miles of manmade cooling canals that surround the plant, adopting the system as a new natural breeding ground.
"The way the cooling canal system was designed actually turned out to be pretty good for crocodile nesting," said John Wrublik, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "It wasn't designed for crocodiles, but they've done a very good job of maintaining that area."
The recirculating water system at Turkey Point works by pumping water from the canals through a condenser, somewhat like a car's cooling system. The canals and berms used in the process have unintentionally become a nesting habitat for the crocodiles, that has helped lower their risk status from "endangered" to "threatened."
Federal wildlife officials say the crocodiles have experienced a five-fold population increase since the late 70's. And the crocs living in the canals are doing even better than their counterparts at the state's other two official sanctuaries, which still classify the enormous reptile as threatened. In 1997, the American crocodile population was down to just 300, while today, it's estimated to be more than 1,500 and growing. . . .
What's more, it's not just the crocodiles that are thriving in the power plant canals; dozens of other protected species are booming there as well, including the manatee and loggerhead turtle. . . .

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Obama explains his views on Capitalism

Volt batteries catching fire kept quiet because of concern over the “fragility of Volt sales"

Don't want to have anything discourage those electric car sales. Joan Claybrook isn't someone I give any weight to, but she is probably plugged into the kooky liberals who want electric cars. From Auto Guide:

Joan Claybrook, a former adminstrator at NHTSA believes part of the reason for the delay was the “fragility of Volt sales.” Yet she also believes that “NHTSA could have put out a consumer alert, not to tell them [customers] for six months makes no sense to me.”

GM designed a complex cooling system for the Volt’s lithium ion battery pack to help regulate its temperature (lithium-ion units are known for overheating), yet until July it hadn’t finalized a standard proceedure to power down the battery system, the Volt had already been on sale in the US for six months at that juncture.

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, which crash tested a Volt back in February reported no incidents of fire as resulting from the accident, yet when a second crash test was performed in August, General Motors sent a technician to power down the battery. . . .

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Explaining the Fed's $7.7 trillion bailout scheme

From Bloomberg:

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year. . . .

The one complaint that I had on the segment is that he ignores all the money that was given out to foreign financial institutions.


Despite getting himself into trouble by sometimes speaking off the cuff, Newt has a very conservative record

From the American Conservative Union, Newt has a lifetime average of 90. The Republican average at that time was 85.
From the NTU 1979-98, Gingrich's score averaged 61% (100% is a perfect score on supporting lower taxes and limited government). The average Republican scored 56%.

From the Club for Growth:

Voted YES on the Reagan tax cut of 1981
Voted YES on the Reagan tax reform bill of 1986
Voted NO on the George H.W. Bush “Read My Lips” tax hike in 1990.
Voted NO on the Clinton tax hike in 1993.
Voted YES on the capital gains tax cut in 1997.

Other positions:

an immediate and permanent repeal of the Death Tax;
elimination of all capital gains taxes;
reduction of the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent;
a 50 percent payroll tax cut for both employers and employees;
a 100 percent tax write off for businesses’ equipment purchases.


Guess where the Stimulus' top 10 loans went to

All of these are solar energy companies, even the one that doesn't have "solar" in its name. Information from Recovery.gov.

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Factory orders decline again, non-manufacturing sector slows

From the WSJ:

U.S. factory orders fell a second straight month during October, according to government data that suggested manufacturers were having difficulty gaining ground amid a soft economy.

Separately, the U.S. nonmanufacturing sector saw a slower rate of expansion in November, according to data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management.

Factory orders decreased by 0.4% from the prior month to $450.03 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 0.5% decline. Orders in September dipped 0.1%, revised down from a previously estimated gain of 0.3%.

Capital investment on equipment by U.S. businesses in October also fell. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft dropped by 0.8%. The category of orders serves as an indicator of the confidence businesses have in the economy.

Economic weakness is restraining manufacturers. The economy's recovery slowed sharply early this year. Growth sped up over the summer, yet was modest. . . .

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GM Volt sales very slow even before safety issue with fires

Someone really needs to add up all the subsidies that have gone into these cars. The average income of Volt buyers is $175,000 a year. Whether it is 8,000 cars this year or a chance of 45,000 next year, where would these sales be without these huge subsidies? So much for initial predictions of up to 60,000 sold in 2011. From the WSJ:

Before General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt became the subject of a U.S. safety investigation, the auto maker's moon shot was falling well short of its stratospheric expectations.

GM's year-old, battery-powered Volt, cast by the company as a revolution in automotive technology, will miss the sales target of 10,000 vehicles that Chief Executive Dan Akerson set for this year, hampered by production delays, distribution problems and questions about whether Americans really want electric cars. The company is on track to sell around 8,000 Volts this year.

GM aims to sell 45,000 Volts in the U.S. next year, and the auto maker faces questions about whether it can deliver.

"We're getting a lot of interest, we're just not getting a lot of buyers," says William Willis, a Chevy dealer in Smyrna, Del. Mr. Willis says he has sold two Volts since the fall and has two on his lot. "Customers come in, they are wowed by the display, the quick acceleration. It's just going to take a while for the American public to accept the price."

The $41,000 Volt solved the biggest hurdle with electric cars: range. But that came with compromises on price and space. Now questions have arisen about safety in the wake of fires caused by government crash tests. . . .


tax credit of up to $7,500

federal tax credit equal to 50% of the cost to buy and install a home-based charging station with a maximum credit of US$2,000 for each station. Businesses qualify for tax credits up to $50,000 for larger installations.

There have been other huge subsidies in terms of the development of the cars and even the equipment used to manufacture the cars.

Who can forget all the big subsidies to General Motors?

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Robber picks the wrong place to rob

R. Lee Emey in good ads for Glock.

While I was looking at these clips of R. Lee Ermey, I came across this interesting fact. During WWII there were about 20,000 to 25,000 rounds per enemy killed. During the Vietnam War there were 200,000 to 400,0000 rounds per enemy killed.

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A thought on Gingrich, Clinton and Adultery

Maureen Dowd and other commentators are trying to rewrite Gingrich's history.

[Gingrich] didn't get whiplash being a serial adulterer while impeaching another serial adulterer [Clinton] . . . .

Here is the problem. The impeachment wasn't about Clinton having an affair. It was about him lying under oath about it. Even worse, something that got very little attention, was that for me he was being forced to testify because of a law that Clinton had pushed for and signed. The hypocrisy here was that Clinton's defenders said that it wasn't a big deal that Clinton lied under oath because he was lying about sex. How many others dealing with sexual harassment complaints can simply justify lying because the action involved sex? My guess is that Clinton and his defenders would have cut these people no slack, but none of them have advocated that Democrats repeal their law.

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