Oil For Polls

The move to release 30 million barrels from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve yesterday came as a shock. It seemed overwhelmingly stupid and a move made out of panic.

First, that amount is what the world uses every 16 hours. It can hardly make a dent in our needs.

Then, it was confusing since the price of oil had been declining from a high of $114 a barrel to around $92. Gas prices had been falling 20 days in a row ahead of yesterday. There was no huge uptick taking place.

The Saudis had assured the world that they would increase oil production to meet any lost by the Libyan conflict. In fact, releasing the reserves was like kicking sand in their face. Why should they buck OPEC to help us when we would undermine them in this way?

The oil reserves are what they say – put their strategic reasons. The U.S. had only released them when Iraq invaded Kuwait in ’90-’91 and after Hurricane Katrina. What event precipitated it this time? What if we have a sudden disaster?

Replacing the oil will probably cost the taxpayer, too. It was put in at $90 a barrel and probably will be replaced at $100 a barrel plus.

Then it has a negative psychological effect on business. The move telegraphed the administration’s fear about the economy. Who wants to hire in that kind of environment?

Should the government be interfering in the free market anyhow?

If you were the enemy, wouldn’t you now wait until this is used up and we are down in supply to up the price substantially?

All on counts, it doesn’t make sense.

Obama Care Explained

This quote is attributed to Donald Trump: “Let me get this straight… We’re going to be ‘gifted’ with a health care plan we are forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, rationed medical care and medicine controlled by a government appointed agency, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, plus all the President’s contributors he has exempted and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we’ll be taxed for four years before any benefit takes effect, by a government which has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that’s broke! What the hell could possibly go wrong?”

Awful Gaffe

Yesterday when President Obama was meeting troops at Fort Drum, New York, he made an embarrassing remark. He spoke of Jared Monti, proclaiming how happy he was to present him with a medal coming back from the battlefield.
In actuality, Monti died overseas and Obama met his parents to express his condolences. He was supposedly off the teleprompter, but this kind of mistake is an affront to fighting Americans. Here’s a clip:

Yesterday when President Obama was meeting troops at Fort Drum, New York, he made an embarrassing remark. He spoke of Jared Monti, proclaiming how happy he was to present him with a medal coming back from the battlefield.
In actuality, Monti died overseas and Obama met his parents to express his condolences. He was supposedly off the teleprompter, but this kind of mistake is an affront to fighting Americans. Here’s a clip:

For the 11th Week, Jobless Top 400K

Once again, jobless claims came in “unexpectedly” more than forecast. They were looking for 415,000 and got 429,000. Last week’s 414,000 was raised to 420,000 during the week.

This marks the 11th week of claims higher than 400,000. No state had a decline of more than 1,000 claims; 13 had more than 1,000. Pennsylvania and California lost the most.

Looks like this bump in the road is getting to be a boulder in the road. Debt exploding, home values decreasing and more people unemployed – not good.

Thank you, Jim Strickland

Last night the only hold out on the City Council against Wharton’s budget was Midtown City Councilman Jim Strickland. I don’t know why Strickland voted against it, but it was the right vote.

The vote was 10-1 to add an additional 18 cents to our property tax supposedly to help Memphis City Schools.

I say supposedly for the city schools because schools and children are always what officials point to when they are sticking their hands in our wallets. Who could be against schools? Who could be against our children? Only the most heartless among us, eh?

I’ve watched over the years how the more money the city takes from us, the worse city schools become. There’s always money for administrative costs such as furniture for offices, money to order food that is left to rot at warehouses, money for administrative trips. This is not helping the children or raising education standards.

What about the elderly? Some of the homeowners who are going to pay for all of this have to dig deep to pay the taxes. Where’s the Council’s sympathy for them?

At a time when many people are struggling to keep their homes, isn’t adding to their burden the worst thing you could do? Don’t the council members see the exodus out of the city of Memphis to places that don’t impose these costs? Isn’t it penny wise and pound foolish to lose your revenue makers?

They say the 18 cent assessment is temporary. Who believes that? That’s just the sugar coating to make us swallow this bitter medicine. When does a tax ever get removed? The answer is never. Remember the wheel tax? Probably you don’t because that one-time tax happened decades ago. We’re still paying it.

And so it will be with this “one time” 18 cent tax.

Why would anyone believe that the economic situation next year will be better than this? From what I see the recession is tipping towards depression.

Coffee With Kelly Price

Kelly Price sat down at Cafe Eclectic to talk to fellow Memphians about his vision for the future.

The candidate who hopes to unseat Barbara Swearengen Ware in District 7 for the City Council seat is alarmed that our leaders have not expressed any ideas for moving the city into the 21st century.

“I would love to have Mayor Wharton sit down and outline where he wants Memphis to go. Unfortunately, he hasn’t nor has any other person in local government,” Price said. Price pointed to the need for jobs in the city, the need for technological advancement and the need for straightening out our failing schools.

He also feels that our officials need to work together. He expressed disappointment at the council approval of a budget he thinks just kicks problems down the road.

These are some of the themes he will be discussing in his campaign. The election is October 6.

Price will inform us of future events and fund raisers.

If he could unseat the indicted Council woman Ware it would do a lot to help turn this city around.

Alarming Trend in Home Sales

Talk up the economy as much as you want, the facts show otherwise.

In the housing sector, the one that seems to have been the springboard to our recession, things keep getting worse. This morning the newspaper announces that Crye-Leike, one of our biggest realtors, is closing its office in Midtown “because of slumping sales.” At 9 a.m. the existing home sales number came out. It was a puny 4.81 million and reinforces Crye-Leike’s decision.

Stuart Varney on Fox Business explained it this way, “that means in this calendar year, given last month’s selling pace, 4.81 million homes will be sold in America. That is a very low number. That’s down 3.8% month to month. In 2005 we sold more than 7 million homes in the United States. This year we’re down to 4.81 million. That is a bad number.”

In April the number was at 5.05 million. “We are not buying homes even though we have extremely low mortgage rates and extremely low prices that are still falling,” Varney said.

Experts say the government is abetting falling home prices through the tax credit which “just pulled buying forward” and the financial regulations which are encouraging low appraisals. This means that people are wary of buying a home today that might cost less tomorrow. “Why would I buy a home for $100,000 and put a down payment of $20,000 if six months from now the thing is worth $80,000 and I’ve lost my $20,000 down payment?” Varney explained.

Zero Hedge blog notes “Total housing inventory at the end of May fell 1.0% to 3.72 million existing homes available for sale which represents a 9.3 month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 9 month supply in April.” The National Association of Realtors blames the dip on spiking gas prices and severe weather. When all else fails, blame the weather, eh?

Core Logic finds that 22.7% of homes have negativity equity. In other words, 23% of mortgages are under water.

Until this situation stabilizes, the whole economy is in trouble.

Meet Kelly Price

In October we will go to the polls in a local election. One of the candidates, Kelly Price, stands out. He is challenging Council woman Barbara Swearengen Ware for the District 7 position. Ware, you may remember, has held that position for 17 years and was indicted last fall for bypassing vehicle inspection laws.

Price is an Army veteran, father, grandfather and an outstanding citizen. You can see for yourself tomorrow, June 22, at Cafe Eclectic. He will hold a Coffee with the Candidate event there from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Stop by, meet him and find out his vision for Memphis’ future.

Whistleblower Talks About Fast and Furious

If you’ve wondered where J. Christian Adams has been, he surfaced today on Fox News.

Adams is the former Department of Justice attorney who blew the whistle on the Department’s handling of the Black Panther voter intimidation that happened in Philadelphia in 2008. He told interviewer Megyn Kelly how officials there refused to pursue charges in that case, even though it was obvious what was going on.

Today he discussed Operation Fast and Furious with Alisyn Camerota. She asked if the head of the ATF would lose his job after the congressional investigation by Darrel Issa.

“Of course Ken Melson’s going to lose his job, he’s a Bush guy,” Adams said. “The head of the ATF doesn’t do something like this without the approval of the DAG – the Deputy Attorney General – who at the time was Gary Grindler or the Attorney General himself. This kind of behavior is positively Nixonian. What we’re learning every day from the Justice Department, it’s a lot like the New Black Panther dismissal where they enabled lawless behavior, then they lie about it to Congress and the American people.”

“If Melson goes this shouldn’t be the end of the story because nothing gets done in the Justice Department in this bureaucracy without higher ups being briefed. We’ve learned that the Attorney General knew about the Black Panther dismissal before it was dismissed. It’s inconceivable that Gary Grindle r or the DAG or the Attorney General himself were not routinely briefed about Fast and Furious.”

If Ken Melson falls on his sword this week will congress continue investigating it?
“Obviously Senator Grassley’s going to push, Darrel Issa’s going to push… I mean this story is so outrageous that when I first heard about it in January I said this couldn’t happen. I called former Bush Justice Department people and asked what do you think about this? They said there’s no chance this is a real story. It’s like something you’d read in a novel, not a newspaper.

“There’s no question that Melson’s going to go, the only questions that remain are No. 1: how high does it go and No. 2: does the media outside of Fox News and Pajamas Media cover it?”

We’ll know soon.