Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Free money from the government

Opening the door to greater prosperity.
For all of you folks who are eagerly poised to get your Economic Stimulus check from the federal government I thought you'd enjoy this little Q & A session from that brilliant satirist of the Miami Herald, Dave Barry:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?

A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?

A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?

A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?

A. Shut up.

I hope y'all have fun spending your free money (borrowed from China) that has been so beneficently provided by the politicians in Washington, DC. I look forward to running into you at Best Buy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Big Chill

Chilly Willy will be diggin' it!

The following link is to an article from today's headlines in the Australian press and confirms what I have been gathering from anecdotal evidence over the past few years, namely that there is a very good possibility that the earth is getting cooler folks! That's right COOLER! COLDER! DOWNRIGHT FRIGID!

Read on:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Falling Dollar Meter

Everyone who drives a car knows that the price of fuel is rising almost daily. One of the most securely held jobs in America right now is the task of changing the numbers on the gas station's price sign with a long pole and suction cups.

Now many of y'all might be led to believe that these rising prices are nothing more than a greedy cash grab orchestrated by those thieving monsters collectively known as Big Oil. The U.S. government has a vested interest in perpetrating this view, which helps explain why Congress summoned the CEO's of this supposed cartel to Capitol Hill, a few weeks back, for a dog and pony show in front of the news cameras. Unfortunately for the poobahs in DC these particular witnesses were not nearly as much fun to grill as a steroid using baseball player, because their answers indicated that the problem was much more closely tied to policies emanating from Washington than in the boardrooms of Houston or New York.

Chevron CEO Robert Peterson is grilled for the cameras.

The truth of the matter is that the price of oil is directly tied to the plummeting value of the U.S. dollar and the precipitous descent of the greenback is mainly due to the unrestrained printing of dollars by the U.S. government to help fund a failed war and to paper over disastrous central banking policies that have led to the current crisis in the financial system.

The world price of oil is currently pegged to the U.S. dollar and thus as it continues its downward spiral on world currency markets the corresponding amount of them it takes to purchase a barrel of oil is continuously on the rise. In fact you can use your local gasoline station's price sign as a very accurate and up to the minute gauge of the health of the U.S. dollar. After all there is no shortage of gasoline when you go to fill up your tank, so these higher prices are not part of the cycle of supply and demand, but are a direct reflection of the dollar's decline as a traded currency. Plain and simple. Econ. 101.

This morning's reading from my local U.S. dollar value meter on Hwy. 192

In today's headlines I find that the American Geological Institute has come up with empirical evidence to demonstrate the cause and effect of a falling dollar and rising oil prices:

"The steep increase in the price of crude oil in the United States remains a headline issue, along with the falling US dollar. The drop in the dollar has caused concern in oil-producing countries which use it as the economic basis for the commodity, and often their currency. The chart below shows the spot market price of crude oil per barrel (BBL) in US dollars and in euros from 2001 to today. The price of oil has grown faster relative to the dollar than to the euro. Yet, a portion of the rise in oil prices is due to the fall of the value of the dollar. The graph also shows the number of barrels of crude oil per cost of an ounce of gold, demonstrating the parallel growth in commodity pricing.

If the US dollar had remained strong in the global economy, oil might, in theory, be around $65 per barrel. However, oil is priced in dollars, and oil prices continue to rise. The impact of increased oil prices can not be ignored in the US economy, and, in turn, can further weaken the dollar. Resource economics is a complex feedback loop where today’s resource boom is driven by many external factors."

The chart shows the price of a barrel of oil per dollar in blue, euro in red and ounce of gold in purple.

A cursory glance at the graph will show you that by using gold as a standard currency of value the price of oil has not risen appreciably since 2001. Now go figure!

Leave it to geologists to set us straight on what is going on beneath the surface of popular conception and dig down beneath the sedimentary layers of fiscal mismanagement. Keep your eyes on the falling dollar as you drive past your local gas station. The guy changing the numbers on the sign is doing the public a valuable service if only it knew how to interpret the data.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tom's Hot Dogs

While we were visiting the Panhandle last month I was dispatched by my wife on an urgent mission to Panama City to secure Easter candy from a small Chinese grocery store that we used to frequent when we lived in that area. On my way back to our beach compound I stopped off in downtown to check out the main drag (Harrison Ave.) and get me a soda pop. While there I stumbled unto Tom's Hot Dogs, an old fashioned local institution that quite frankly served me the best tasting hot dog I've ever eaten (a regular all beef dog with kraut and spicy red relish, mmmmm boy!) which I washed down with a Dr. Pepper.

555 Harrison Ave., Panama City, FL

Chili cheese dog

If you're ever in the general vicinity of Panama City I highly recommend that you take the time to check out Tom's. It's a definite throwback to a bygone era with lots of charm, character and excellent food. They tell me the cheeseburgers are the best thing on the menu. Who knew? As General MacArthur famously said "I shall return!"

The line snaked out the front door.

A regular and a slaw dog

Tom's Hot Dogs
555 Harrison Ave
Panama City, FL 32401
(850) 769-8890