Incestuous Stereotypes? Cornish And Hillbillies On Even Footing

This just in from the U.K. Mirror:

Insulting people because they come from Cornwall is not racist, said human rights officials yesterday.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission ruled that mocking the county's folk with names such as "inbred" is not illegal under race laws.

The Kernow branch of the Celtic League asked it to condemn such behaviour in the media and internet.

But Qaiser Razzak of the EHRC said it would be "powerless" to prosecute as the Cornish are not established as a "racial group" under the Race Relations Act.
Those of us who call West Virginia home can sympathize with the people of Cornwall. Back in 2004, Abercrombie and Fitch marketed tee-shirts emblazoned with the slogans:
"Its all relative in West Virginia"
"West Virginia: No Lifeguard at the Gene Pool."
In 2008, even Vice President Cheney reinforced the stereotype:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Vice President Dick Cheney Monday made a familiar joke about people who live in West Virginia while speaking to the National Press Club in Washington D.C.

Cheney was explaining how he is a distant cousin to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"We'd always known about the Cheney family line on my father's side of the family, back to Massachusetts in the 1630s. My grandmother was named Tyler but it turned out she was descended from a Richard Cheney, same last name, who landed in Maryland in the 1650s," Vice President Cheney said. "So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family -- and we don't even live in West Virginia. You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."

Those in attendance at the National Press Club and Mr. Cheney laughed at the joke.
But the part about incest must be true because Slate says that it is.

Obama on Spending Freezes

As we know, Zee Rho has announced a spending freeze in his SOTU address.  Glenn Beck gets it right:

This is the guy who has increased the federal deficit to $1.35 trillion — higher as a share of the economy than any other year since World War II. The guy who wants to raise the debt ceiling by another $2 trillion. The guy who approved a $787 billion spending orgy that resulted in millions wasted on reptile road safety.

That guy has now decided things have just gotten too crazy! He's got to fix it! So he's proposing a spending freeze. Sounds like a good idea. Where have I heard that before?

SOTU - "I Don't Quit"



Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club eloquently summarizes Obama's real message tonight in his State of the Union address . . . and "wretchard" offers up his own hope for the future:
The headline over at the Huffington Post is “I DON’T QUIT”. Whether one regards Obama favorably or unfavorably, the objective nature of his plan means that if carried out there will be a short-term burst in expenditures until such time as the “growth” aspects of his plan kick in to provide a bigger tax base.

That was implicit in what he didn’t say. There is to be no large scale reduction in government programs. Instead there will be more governance. For regulating Wall Street, funding projects, giving grants to education and “funding” health care reform. These are ‘investments’ in the bright future that he paints. The question is whether they are likely to make a return on the outlay. And the nearly certain answer — whether one supports the President or not — is that none of them are going to make a material difference in the next six or seven months.

The next six or seven months of 2010 are likely to answer whether President Obama’s actions in the first year did any good. That’s when at least some of the return on his 2009 programs should come in. If they’re ever coming in. My own guess is that the next few months will still see more negative news, perhaps even more negative than otherwise because I don’t think much of his 2009 programs. But we shall see.

So if I’m right and 2010 is essentially a dog until October, all the President is going to have to going forward is expectation. If there’s nothing to show he’ll have to make up for it with glowing descriptions of things to come. So he’s in for a rough year because the cavalry is not going to ride to his rescue anytime before October and he must convince the public that, even with the ammunition running low and the arrows protruding from their hats that it can hear the witching call of bugles just over the hill. “Hold on boys, Hope is on the way.”

The Future Is All Downhill At Chrysler

The Wall Street Journal reports on the dramatic crash in Chrysler vehicle sales:

Chrysler, which like GM was reorganized in bankruptcy court last year and loaned billions of dollars by the U.S. government, sold 86,523 vehicles in December, with nearly half of them going to rental companies.

For the full year, Chrysler sold 931,402 vehicles, the first time since 1962 it has sold fewer than one million cars and trucks according to wardsauto.com.

That is 36% fewer vehicles than Chrysler sold in 2008 adding to its 30% sales drop from 2007. In two years, Chrysler's sales have fallen 55%. Chrysler no longer conducts monthly sales calls with reporters and analysts.

In December, Chrysler's sales fell 3.7% to 86,523 cars and trucks, the company's best monthly performance since August when the government's rebate program spurred a burst of new car buying.

Under the management of Italian auto maker Fiat SpA, the company has been trying to return to profitability by reducing spending on customer incentives and not overproducing its vehicles. That has left many Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers with low inventories and fewer offers to draw customers at a time when rivals like Ford and Hyundai Motor Co. are aggressively trying to gain market share.

Chrysler declined to comment on its sales performance. It did say inventory levels have fallen 55% from a year ago to 178,538 cars and trucks, representing a 58-day supply.

Despite its goal to cut incentives, Chrysler announced new offers Tuesday of below-market interest rates or up to $4,000 cash to consumers purchasing its vehicles.
Somehow Chrysler or the Obama administration believed that the answer was to pawn off  "new" Chrysler to Fiat in order that the Italian automaker could get into the American taxpayers pocketbooks just as 'old" Chrysler did. How is that "Obamachange" working out for you?

The first mistake made by the bankruptcy court was to believe the "debtor-in-possession", Uncle Sam, who said that Chrysler had to go about "cutting labor costs, reducing debt, shedding dealerships and brands, and closing excess factories." Now I can understand reducing labor costs (which didn't happen), reducing labor headcount and closing old factories.  What I fail to comprehend is the theory that by closing dealerships, (that are not owned by the bankrupt company),  somehow good results will come to the automaker.

Reduce sales locations and sales people in order to increase sales? The automaker's argument goes like this:
[We] need to make the cuts to keep the remaining dealers healthy. That way, they can invest in better showrooms and more advertising and do less discounting. The automakers also argue that the federal government signed off on the dealer closures when they were included in the viability plans that automakers submitted to get federal bailout money.
Hmmmm ...what did the WSJ say about new marketing deals offering "below-market interest rates or up to $4,000 cash ..."

Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) wrote a letter to Automotive News in which he reviews the new dealership arbitration law that requires reaching agreements with terminated dealers.
Recent comments by Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne and his statement that the company might file suit to stop the arbitration are wrong on so many levels. First, isn't it ironic that a company surviving solely on taxpayer money provided by Congress might use that money to file suit to stop an action passed by Congress?

Second, many of the dealerships that were terminated were profitable and successful in spite of dismal market conditions, yet Chrysler has refused to say why the dealerships were terminated.

Third, 789 dealerships were terminated in June. Right now, Chrysler needs to focus on selling every car it can. Isn't it obvious that the rapid and precipitous removal of so many sales outlets caused the company to lose volume?

Furthermore, at this point, many of the terminated dealerships cannot and will not be reinstated for a variety of reasons; many don't exist anymore. What we really are talking about here is providing adequate compensation for the franchise value taken.

I worked in the car business for 25 years, many of those years as a dealer. I understand how overdealering can hurt the strength of existing dealerships. But the horrible market conditions of last year were putting many GM and Chrysler Group dealerships out of business by attrition every month. The manufacturers didn't need to do what they did. And it was done in a capricious, secretive and unfair manner. That's why Congress correctly took action.
Chrysler will fail for a myriad of reasons ...nobody wants to buy Fiats, nobody believes in the long-term viability of a company overburdened with unions and union work rules, and nobody wants to support Chrysler with tax money anymore. Under capitalism, it is necessary for weak companies to fail.

The Day ObamaCare Died

Web-Based Health Care



Imagine a doctor providing medical services to you without scheduling appointments weeks or months in advance. Contemplate no delays at the doctor's office or waiting for emergency services. Now grasp the concept of instant communications directly with your doctor at all times. All this for prices more affordable than available in current health insurance plans and even add the return to the days of home visits of patients when necessary. This is a story about Hello Health and young doctor with a dream:
Last year, Dr. Jay Parkinson caused a media frenzy when he declared that he would revolutionize the healthcare system using new technology. His idea: target those who are uninsured, and offer them doctor services on a pay-per-visit basis, with the option to text, IM or email when you have questions or concerns. In a new development, Parkinson has decided to franchise his operations (which he now describes as "Geek Squad as doctors with a Netflix-type subscription fee") and is opening his first brick-and-mortar storefront, called Hello Health in Williamsburg [Brooklyn, NY].

In an interview with Scott Hensley over at WSJ's Health Blog, Jay Parkinson says that he began his private practice by "hanging his shingle" on a website.
I amassed about 300 patients in 3 months. Everything was going very well except one thing — all of the free pieces of technology I was using weren’t communicating and it was starting to become very frustrating and inefficient. I knew I needed a unified, seamless platform to make this scale.

In mid-December, a video news story was on the front page of Yahoo for most of one day. I got about 200 emails an hour from people all over the nation either thanking me, providing encouragement, or asking if I could be their doctor. One of them was a gentleman from Quebec City — Nat Findlay. He basically just said, “We need to talk.”

He flew down the next day and we met for about three hours. Nat was in the process of retiring from Cardinal Health after selling a company he started to Cardinal about 5 years prior. He was looking to start a new company — one that focused on connecting doctors and patients.

During our first meeting, I told him of my vision to create a Facebook-like platform that connects doctors with their patients that also had some sort of EMR functionality to it to keep records. It’s evolved tremendously since then, and I’ve taken a position as Chief Medical Officer/Imagineer with Myca to build this technology and create and roll out Hello Health.
Dr. Sean Khozin, one of Hello Health's founding doctors, explains that the practice was built on a conscious decision to drop out of the existing health-care payment system, which he believes drives up costs and strangles innovation.

There is much more to the concept of web-based healthcare that Jay Parkinson describes on his website here.

Hello Health . . .  coming soon to a brick-and-mortar clinic near you unless or until Obamacare kills the business concept.

A Massachusetts Miracle

Scott Brown, Republican

This mock ad may put Brown over the top in Randy Moss-a-chusetts.


Electric Vehicle Viability Study

Obama's Folly rears its ugly head once again in what can only be described as the US version of Soviet Central Planning.

Professor Mark Perry provides the skinny on an economic study from Boston Consulting Group on new electric vehicles scheduled to be sold in the United States.

Dr. Perry then asks the 64 billion dollar question:

Aren't they supposed to do a cost-benefit analysis ahead of time?

CARPE DIEM: Electric Vehicles: It Might Sound Like a Good Idea; But There's At Least a 15-Year Payback Period; What Were They Thinking?

Consumer Recovery? There Is None.


Bad news from Karl Denninger over at The Market Ticker:

Look folks, this is really quite simple.

Economic Stability and Recovery = Credit Expansion.

We cannot recover until we purge the excess debt from the system, and the longer we take to do that, the longer the pain will last and the worse it will be.

President Obama and Tim Geithner know this - that's why they are constantly harping on banks to "lend more."

Well, they may want banks to lend more but the people are fed up with being debt slaves and are borrowing less.

Denninger cites Fed statistics which show that in November, consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 8.5% and credit cards were down 18.5% (the largest decline since record keeping started in 1943!).

So what is happening?
The so-called "recovery" has been driven by pump-priming, which has had at its root one primary intent - to drive citizens into herd behavior and get them to spend more and more (that they don't have!)

But at the same time this has been the message [that] credit card rates have been ramped and lines slashed. So now Joe Six Pack is faced with a 30% interest rate on his credit card - if he has any open line left!

There is no possible way for this program to work, since the entire problem originally - what began this recession - was people that were unable to make their debt payments in the first place!

Small business will not hire until their debt load comes down to a reasonable level. This will take literal years if we don't quit trying to prevent the contraction of both asset prices and credit levels.

It is time for Washington DC, including The Fed and Congress along with President Obama to embrace the facts - we must finish the de-leveraging that is necessary to return the citizens and corporations of this nation to fiscal health. At the same time the government must stop spending twice what it takes in in taxes.

GMAC Bailout Bowl

College football fans not yet weary of the bowl season were treated to an exciting GMAC Bowl game from Mobile. High powered offenses locked up in a double overtime thriller. Sports Network reports:

Mobile, AL (Sports Network) - Andrew Aguila made 5-of-6 field goals and kicked the game-winning 37-yarder in the second overtime, as the 25th-ranked Central Michigan Chippewas edged the Troy Trojans, 44-41, in the 11th annual GMAC Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Senior quarterback Dan LeFevour completed 33-of-55 passes for 395 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Chippewas (12-2), who were appearing in their fourth straight bowl and sixth overall in school history. LeFevour also rushed for 57 yards and a score on nine carries for Central Michigan, which claimed its third MAC title in the last four seasons.

Antonio Brown caught 13 passes for 178 yards and also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Brown added a rushing TD while Bryan Anderson hauled in seven passes for 84 yards and a score for the Chippewas, who were playing in their first game under interim head coach Steve Stripling.

Levi Brown connected on 31-of-56 passes for 387 yards and a touchdown for the Trojans (9-4), who were appearing in their fourth bowl game in school history. DuJuan Harris rushed for 112 yards and two scores on 14 carries. Shawn Southward also rushed for a pair of touchdowns. Jerrel Jernigan caught nine passes for 154 yards while Harris caught a TD pass for Troy, which grabbed its fourth straight Sun Belt title this season.
Tad DeHaven points out in Cato@Liberty that GMAC's sponsorship is inappropriate because taxpayers continue to finance the bailout of GMAC Financial Services.
As a college football fan, it pains me that I can’t even get a respite from big government on game day. This Wednesday’s matchup between Central Michigan and Troy will be particularly insulting to taxpayers because it’s the annual GMAC Bowl.

GMAC, the former in-house financing arm of General Motors, has been sponsoring the bowl game since 2000, when it paid $500,000 for the right. More recently, the firm was battered by the collapse of GM and the housing market, and it was allowed to restructure as a bank holding company, which made it eligible for TARP bailout funds. The federal government has given GMAC $12.5 billion in return for 35.4 percent ownership stake in the company. However, the bailout just got larger.
The irony of all ironies was reported in the Wall Street Journal, exactly one week before the bowl game, that Treasury will give $3.8 billion more to GMAC. We must continue to wonder just how long we must endure this economy-destroying bailout mindset. Badly managed companies must be allowed to fail . . . even when we taxpayers own 40% of it.

Hawaii Health Care and Rush Limbaugh

Leftist bloggers, after first wishing for his death, piled on Rush Limbaugh about his statement at his Hawaii presser that "there is nothing wrong with the American health care system." According to Paul Abrams at Huffpo:

Yes, Rush. That's the point! American medicine is superb--for those who can get it. And, in Hawaii, no one gets special treatment, because everyone can get it.

By accepting socialist medical treatment in Hawaii, therefore, Rush Limbaugh has shown that, when one is ill, what matters is the availability of quality health care, even if it is socialist.
Well, in this case, Paul Abrams is deliberating misleading his readers (as is often the case at Huffpo). Hawaii health insurance is not exactly universal, single-payer coverage. The Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974 is employer oriented and it covers only employees working more than 20 hours per week and earning more than $628 weekly. In that respect it is very much like every other employer-based insurance plan in the nation, the first of which were established in the 1940s. Hawaii's approach in mandating specific insurance coverages is different but plan participation results are much the same because not everyone in Hawaii is eligible to be insured. Under the program, employees were typically saddled with 50% of the premium costs, unless of course, an employer elects to be more generous. Yep, that is obviously good, old fashioned, socialized medicine alright!  (Note to self:  Remove tongue from cheek).

Hawaii did attempt to move toward socialized health care in 2007 when the legislature adopted the only state universal child health care program in the country. Seven months later, the program ended because providing free coverage to participants became too expensive when Hawaiians stopped employer coverage and elected child coverage under the new program.
Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration cited budget shortfalls and other available health care options for eliminating funding for the program. A state official said families were dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan.

“People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free,” said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. “I don’t believe that was the intent of the program.”
Obviously, the Obama-led Democrats have no concern for budget shortfalls, else Obamacare would also be dead before it even starts.