Tuesday 26 March 2012
Photo, above: 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. (See below: Hour 2, Block B: LouAnn Hammond, Drivingthenation.com) Powertrain: The Flying Spur will again offer a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine with output increasing from 552 hp to 567 for the normal sedan; the hi-po Speed model should see its W-12 jump from 600 hp to 616. Only $2,280,000 a dozen.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, in re: The 5.7% m/m rebound in February's US durable goods orders, which was above the 3.9% consensus forecast and a bit below our 6.5% call, is not quite as good as it looks. Most of the gain was due to a 95.3% m/m rebound in commercial aircraft orders, more than reversing a 24.0% m/m slump in January. Transportation orders increased by 21.7% m/m in total, with motor vehicle orders also up by 3.8%. Excluding transportation, however, core orders actually fell by 0.5% m/m last month. This is a little disappointing, but not a big concern given that orders are very volatile on a month-to-month basis and February's small decline follows a 2.9% m/m jump in January. Non-defence capital goods orders (ex. aircraft) fell by 2.7% m/m but, again, that followed a 6.7% jump in January. The three-month-on-three-month annualised growth rate in that category was still as high as 26.0% last month, albeit down slightly from 30.8% in January. Non-defence capital goods (ex. aircraft) shipments increased by a solid 1.9% m/m, suggesting that first-quarter business investment is expanding at a healthy pace, possibly even 10% annualised. The 0.4% m/m increase in durables inventories, which is markedly stronger than we've seen over the past six months, suggests that manufacturers are boosting inventories at a faster pace, which is also good news for first-quarter GDP growth.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: John Tamny, RealClearPolitics, in re: No GOP Reset Is Needed, Just Start Acting Like Republicans As is well known now, a limping Republican Party promised to change its ways this week in order to become relevant once again on the presidential level. As USA Today put it, the Party is "promising a host of new strategies designed to make it more appealing." If the GOP leadership is smart it will scrap the report. Republicans don't need to change as much as they need to act like Republicans again. People like Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan were Republicans because they truly and very optimistically felt that positive policies meant to boost opportunity and the individual incentive to work would make people from all walks of life better off. It's time for the once grand Party to return to this kind of thinking.
First up, the Party's intellectual leadership needs to erase the notion of "budget deficits" from its collective brain. On its face the deficit talk plays into the hands of the Democrats for creating the staggeringly false illusion that we have a revenue problem. We quite simply do not.
As any sentient being knows, the U.S. has a spending problem. Republicans talk about a looming fiscal crisis, but the problem for them is that they're crying wolf. Love or hate deficits, the simple truth is that right or wrong, investors around the world line up to buy the debt that the U.S. Treasury issues. [more]
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Edward P. Lazear, Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. & Jack Steele Parker Professor of Human Resources, Management and Economics at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, in re: allowing highly-qualified potential immigrants to obtain US citizenship. LK: I disagree; if we charge money, it goes against the grain of our history where people fled to here for liberty. EL: Those who value our system the most are glad to pay; the price mechanism is secondary. LK: But we don’t know n advance who'll produce and who won't. For hundreds of years, poor people have arrived here, and we have no way to know in advance who may be the most brilliant innovators. EL: Currently, 70% of arrivals come here under family reunification, which makes sense, but that may not be the wisest criterion for the US. In 2007, Sen Bush and Sen Kennedy designed a point allocation system: education, age, and such. What we're looking for is better served by this than by the current mode. In olden days, many immigrants did have to make a significant investment to get here. LK: [I still oppose cash fees, as] People risk their lives to get here, work, and pay taxes. On the other hand, our immigration system has kids come here, attend MIT, then get kicked out – it's nuts. EL: Many very talented entrepreneurial people don’t want to go to a major university but still can make huge contributions. Countries that have a young population tend to have more entrepreneurs, which in turn leads to better economies. The only way I see to enforce immigration is to have the employer check with [ICE]. Other countries do have systems involving some sort of price mechanism – usu investment in the millions – but we're talking about bringing in engineers, agricultural people, which couldn’t possibly afford hat. When I was at the Council of Economic Advisors, we looked at low-wage laborers in Mexico compared to what they made here; difference of abt $10K PA. LK: I say that just by paying taxes, they’re integrated into the system. The state of he economy and availability of jobs have a lot to do with immigration. I don't want to put lids on immigration or population growth.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Larry Kudlow, in re: Obamacare turns 3
Happy third birthday, Obamacare. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law . . . Reid listed how people benefit from the healthcare law, including students staying on their parent's plans until age 26 and seniors saving on prescription drug costs . . . But Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) marked the event differently, saying that the Affordable Care Act is "endangering the greatest healthcare system."” Ramsey Cox in The Hill.
Health insurers warn that premiums will jump next year. “Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation’s biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans . . . In a private presentation to brokers late last month, UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s largest carrier, said premiums for some consumers buying their own plans could go up as much as 116%, and small-business rates as much as 25% to 50%.” Anna Wilde Matthews and Louise Radnofsky in The Wall Street Journal.
The Senate wants to scrap the tax on medical devices. “The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to repeal a tax on medical-device sales, despite the fact that the levy helps finance the health-care overhaul. The vote was largely symbolic, but the 79-20 tally signals strong opposition to the 2.3% tax on device sales that went into effect Jan. 1.” Kristina Peterson in The Wall Street Journal.
Will the Medicaid expansion be private? “The White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income people, even though that approach might be somewhat more expensive, federal and state officials say.” Robert Pear in The New York Times.
Why discount drug plans may not be saving Medicare any money. “Preferred-pharmacy plans that promise lower prices for people who agree to buy their prescription drugs from certain stores may be costing the U.S. Medicare program more money to support, pharmacists said…Preferred pharmacies in one UnitedHealth plan may cost as much as 10 percent more than other stores, the community pharmacists group said.” Alex Wayne in Bloomberg.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: .Dennis Berman, WSJ, in re: Kentucky Basketball's New Death Star. They are building a new Death Star here in Lexington. By November, it will be fully operational, a University of Kentucky basketball team deploying the planet-annihilating skills of the single greatest recruiting class in the sport's 100-plus-year history. Kentucky fans, of course, live in the perpetual future, that manic home of recruiting rankings and NBA mock drafts. Such are their appetites for success that they struggle simply being in the present. Especially this year. They're building a new Death Star in Lexington: a University of Kentucky basketball team deploying the planet-annihilating skills of the single greatest recruiting class in the sport's 100-plus-year history, says WSJ's Dennis Berman. With March Madness in full swing, MarketWatch's Christopher Noble looks at five things that NCAA basketball won't tell you. Especially this Saturday. The Wildcats, preseason No. 3, had themselves been pitched from the lowly National Invitation Tournament by a lowly school called Robert Morris. And now fans of the Louisville Cardinals, archrival and derided little brother, were swarming through Kentucky's own Rupp Arena here for an NCAA tournament game. Easily, lethally, their top-seeded team beat Colorado State by 26 points. The rout was so complete that Louisville fans began doing the wave through Rupp, where eight title banners hang. This wasn't an ironic statement. It felt like a collective defilement, a dance atop this concrete tomb of a basketball arena. [more]
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: LouAnn Hammond, Drivingthenation.com, in re: BMW three-cylinder coming to America. Cadillac CTS unveiled early in the media - website was hacked into. (The worst part was they only got the front of the Cadillac CTS and rendered the rest of in the way they thought it would be. The chief designer, Ed Wilburn, didn't like the last of the rendering that the website put up; it was very funny when he was telling it.) Audi A3 unveiling, then Porsche 911 GT Three, then Bentley Flying Spur.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: . Robert Zimmerman, behindtheblack.com, in re: Dragon has unberthed from ISS and is on its way back to Earth. NASA has issued a clarification specifically excluding its press announcements from the suspension of all public outreach efforts due to sequestration. Not surprised. These budget cuts are aimed at grabbing the most publicity as possible without harming NASA’s ability to lobby for funding. Ironically, the truth is that much of NASA’s education and outreach work can be cut, will not be missed - and these cuts should illustrate this fact quite effectively.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Satyajit Das, ex-banker and author, Extreme Money, & Traders, Guns and Money, in re: . Saving Cyprus Means Nobody's Safe as Europe Breaks Taboo The devil lies in the detail of Cyprus’s salvation. The island nation’s rescue sets precedents for the eurozone that may stick in the memory of depositors and bondholders alike as investors debate who will next fall victim to the debt crisis. Under the terms of the agreement struck yesterday in Brussels, senior Cypriot bank bond holders will take losses, and uninsured depositors will be largely wiped out. The message that stakeholders of all stripes can be coerced into helping a cash-strapped nation may make investors more skittish they’ll be targeted if Slovenia, Italy, Spain or even Greece again is next in line to need help. The risk is that bank runs and bond market selloffs become more likely the moment a country applies for a new rescue, said economists and academics from Nicosia to New York. “We now have a new type of rule and everyone within the eurozone has to sit down and see what that implies for their own finances,” Nobel laureate Christopher Pissarides, an adviser to the Cypriot government, told “The Pulse” on Bloomberg Television. [more] Also: NEWS ANALYSIS Stricter Rules but Signs of Disarray in Cyprus Deal European powers used the crisis in Cyprus to establish more punitive rules for countries needing emergency aid, but some said the bailout showed chaotic decision making. With or Without Bailout, Cypriots Lose Trust in Banks
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: A disabled man who spent more than half an hour trapped in Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World” ride in 2009 has won $8,000 in damages from the amusement park, the man’s lawyer said Tuesday. Jose Martinez, a resident of San Pedro (Los Angeles County) who is in early 50s, was stuck in the “Goodbye Room” when the ride broke down the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, said David Geffen, a Santa Ana attorney. Disneyland employees evacuated other riders but had no way to help Martinez, who is paralyzed and uses a wheelchair, Geffen said. Martinez suffers from panic attacks and high blood pressure, both of which became an issue as he sat in the boat, the “Small World” song playing over and over and over, Geffen said.
“He was half in the cave of the ride and half out,” Geffen said. “The music was blaring. They couldn’t get it to go off.” Disneyland employees should have called firefighters to evacuate Martinez, but instead they waited for the ride to be fixed, Geffen said. Martinez was eventually treated at a Disneyland first aid station, the lawyer said. Besides failing to take proper care of Martinez while he was stuck on the ride, Disneyland did not notify disabled riders that if “It’s a Small World” broke down, they could be trapped, U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled Friday. Martinez sued Disneyland in February 2011 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. A spokesman for Disneyland did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment Tuesday. “This is a really important ruling not just for (Martinez), but for anyone that rides the rides at Disneyland — because they do break down often and they do not tell people,” Geffen said. “The court’s saying that this kind of injury is foreseeable and that (Disneyland) has a duty to warn people.”
The county's unemployment picture took an awful turn on Friday, with an increase in the unemployment rate, to 10.4 percent from 10.3 percent the previous month, and the loss of 81,000 payroll jobs. Most every sector took a serious hit. The entertainment industry not only saw a drop of 14,000 payroll positions from December, but those December numbers were revised sharply downward - from 139,300 to 120,300, or nearly 14 percent. It's worth pointing out that this is the time of year when government bean counters make benchmark revisions to the jobs count, and the results can get a little hinky. Also worth mentioning is that movie and TV employment is notoriously erratic and difficult to calculate (just as with everything that involves Hollywood accounting). That said, the January decline is not great news, especially since overall U.S. movie and television employment has been strong this year. The February numbers for California and L.A. County come out on Friday, so those will be interesting to check out. But as you can see from the release, everything got whacked in L.A. From the Business Journal: The county's unemployment rate remains worse than the statewide average of 9.8 percent in January and the national average of 7.9 percent. Unemployment rates in both the City of Los Angeles and Long Beach were above 12 percent. About the only piece of good news in January's jobs report was in the year-over-year comparison of payroll jobs figures. Year over year, the county gained 74,000 in the January period, for a strong growth rate of 2 percent. Professional and business services led the way, with nearly 23,000 jobs gained, followed by leisure and hospitality, which gained nearly 19,000 jobs.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: . John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast, and Newsweek International, in re: There's a cost to playing fast and loose with the truth, former staffers say – and not just in escalating legal fees and overlapping investigations. “A lot of hearts were broken, a lot of lives were hurt by the behavior of the senior staff of the Bachmann campaign,” says Waldron. “She's entangled in a cyclone. She can't get out.” [more]
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Boris Borisovich Volodarsky, intelligence analyst (and Ph.D, LSE), in re: Russian Oligarch and Critic of Putin Dies in Britain Once a close ally of Boris N. Yeltsin who helped install Vladimir V. Putin as president, Boris A. Berezovsky later exiled himself to Britain after a bitter falling-out with the Kremlin. A post-mortem examination on Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has found he was hanged, police said tonight. The examination by a Home Office pathologist found nothing to indicate a violent struggle, a spokesman for Thames Valley Police said. Further tests are now due to be carried out on the body of Mr Berezovsky, 67, who was found dead in his country home in Mill Lane, Ascot, Berkshire, on Saturday. / Suggestion: he was killed by an extraordinary new weapon developed by Russia.
A report derived from the testing program of the Microwave Research Department at the Walter Read Army Institute of research states "Microwave pulses appear to couple to the central nervous system and produce stimulation similar to electric stimulation unrelated to heat". In a many times replicated experiment microwaves pulsed in an exact frequency caused the efflux of calcium ions from the nerve cells (1,2). Calcium plays a key role in the firing of neurons and Ross Adey, member of the first scientific team which published this experiment, publically expressed his conviction that this effect of electromagnetic radiation would interfere with concentration on complex tasks (7). Robert Becker, who had share in the discovery of the effect of pulsedields at the healing of broken bones, published the excerpts from the reportrom Walter Reed Army Institute testing program. In the first part "prompt debilitation effects" should have been tested (8). Were not those effects based on the experiment by Ross Adey and others with calcium efflux ? British scientist John Evans, working in the same field, wrote that both Ross Adey and Robert Becker lost their positions and research grants and called them "free-thinking exiles" (6). In 1975, in the USA, a military experiment was published where pulsed microwaves produced, in the brain of a human subject, an audio perception of numbers from 1 to 10 (9). Again the possibility to convince human being that it is mentally ill is obvious. [more]
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, in re: China’s Leader Argues for Cooperation with Russia President Xi Jinping of China suggested that the two countries could find common ground as each seeks to claim a place as a respected great power.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham by Steven H. Jaffe; 1 of 4 Kenneth T. Jackson, editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of New York City: “From the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776 to the Battle of the Atlantic in 1943, the great Hudson River metropolis and its huge harbor have been central to the American military experience. New York at War is a page-turner, and it tells an important and fascinating story with authority and distinction.”
Vincent J. Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island“Too many New Yorkers have forgotten that their city had a long history of armed conflicts and violent attacks even before the attacks of 9/11. Steven Jaffe’s book is a much-needed reminder of that story as he leads the reader on a brisk and engaging tale of Indian wars, slave revolts, draft riots, German saboteurs, and terrorist bombings.”
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham by Steven H. Jaffe; 2 of 4 Edwin G. Burrows, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gotham and author of Forgotten Patriots: New York at War is a sobering reminder that attack, or the threat of attack, runs like a red thread through four centuries of Gotham’s history. Indeed, Jaffe’s impressively comprehensive narrative will persuade you that no other American city has been targeted by enemies of one kind or another more often than New York. It’s also sure to leave you wondering what’s next.”
Barnet Schecter, author of The Battle for New York and The Devil's Own Work: With fluid, engaging prose and impressive research, Steven Jaffe has managed to capture the city’s sprawling, complex history in a brisk narrative that brings each era vividly to life. At the same time, he skillfully weaves the powerful themes that unify the book: New York’s uniqueness and its cultural symbolism have long made the city a target for attack, while the responses of its diverse people to wartime threats offer universal lessons about balancing civil liberties and security to sustain freedom and democratic values. New York at War is a remarkable achievement.”
Colloquy: New York at War…is one bold undertaking….[Jaffe] unfolds his story…in clear, no-nonsense prose.”
Mike Wallace, co-author of Gotham: “Foreign foes have rarely attacked New York directly, but the city has been profoundly involved in the nation’s many military conflicts. As Steven Jaffe shows in this novel and absorbing study, Gotham has been banker and arsenal, staging ground and recruiting post, cheerleader and critic, fortification and tempting target. Seen in a series, the wartime experiences are strikingly different, and Jaffe respects each war story’s particularity. But he’s also good at spotting commonalities, the most intriguing being the way wars abroad become wars at home, with New York’s polyglot citizenry battling over a conflict’s legitimacy, or which combatant to back. Highly recommended.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham by Steven H. Jaffe; 3 of 4
Thomas Fleming, author of 1776: Year of Illusions: Anyone who’s ever lived in New York, or visited it, or thought about visiting it will be fascinated by this book. Even historians will be surprised by some chapters. Steven Jaffe has dug deep and come up with literary gold, again and again.
Tyler Anbinder, author of Five Points: New York at War provides a fascinating look at a forgotten aspect of the city’s history—its central role in so many of America’s military conflicts. Steven Jaffe brings this neglected aspect of New York’s past back to life with impressive insight and a great eye for the telling details that make history come alive.”
Eric Homberger, author of The Historical Atlas of New York City: Steven H. Jaffe’s vividly written narrative restores a crucial thread to the way we understand the history of New York City. In a highly readable style, New York at War tells a story of tenacity and endurance, and of social conflict on a grand scale. With a story filled with drama and the drum-beat of violence, culminating with the destruction of the World Trade Center, Jaffe has much to tell us about the way a city responds to crisis.”
Edward P. Kohn, author of Hot Time in the Old Town: “While most Americans probably see New York as America’s capital of finance and fashion, Steven Jaffe shows how the city has also been the nation’s epicenter during times of war. While New York may have profited from America’s many wars, it also proved the nation’s most vulnerable city, subject to attack both from without and from within. With an impressive span greater than that of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York at War reminds readers of Gotham’s centrality in America’s wartime experience from colonial times to 9/11. A great idea for a book, masterfully done.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review: “Well-researched, with a flair for the dramatic, and full of unexpected tidbits. Military buffs and New Yorkers will especially love it.”
Tuesday 26 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham by Steven H. Jaffe; 4 of 4 Publishers Weekly: “[A] well-presented, fast-paced narrative of the ways a polyglot, protean community has reacted, and continues to react, to the periodic challenge of ensuing domestic security while maintaining commitments to openness and inclusion.”
Library Journal, starred review: Encyclopedic in scope, diligently researched, and well written, this magisterial book synthesizes the history of our greatest city in a way not fully done before. It will have strong appeal to general readers, New York history buffs, and specialists with an interest in American military history. Highly recommended.
New York Times: In New York at War… historian Steven H. Jaffe skillfully reminds readers that the city had been a tempting target before, that it suffered casualties in earlier conflicts and that other generations of officials worried about immigrants with dual loyalties and about balancing New Yorkers’ security and their civil liberties.
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