Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here's some good news. . .

I filled my tank up the other day and I couldn't even shove $20.00 worth of gas into it. It was a pretty grand feeling.

My joy was magnified more by the thought of what this was doing to all of the oil-rich dictators around the globe. While US oil companies sock away profits from the times of plenty to cover the lean times, thugs such as Putin and Chavez produce as much as they can and base their graft off the profits. Declining profits mean a squeeze on the trouble they are able to cause.

Reading my mind, the Investor's Business Daily has penned an editorial on Chavez's travails:

The sad thing is that Venezuela's Chavez has learned nothing from history. He's ignored every lesson from the past, confident oil would remain high forever, while claiming he'd created a new paradigm. Venezuela's "Bolivarian Revolution," built around one-man rule by Chavez, was "different," he insisted.

After posting a surplus of 12.5% of GDP this year, and spending at least 4.5% of GDP on a stimulus package of soup kitchen offerings, Chavez is now down to his last $87 billion in reserves, having created nothing of permanent value. Next year, S&P estimates a wild swing into deficit by Venezuela, forcing devaluation.

Venezuelan oil prices are now $34 a barrel. Producing 2.3 million barrels a day, down 16% from 2005, and now consuming 795,000 barrels of that, as Caracas investment banker Miguel Octavio estimated on his blog, "The Devil's Excrement," he doesn't even have enough earnings to finance imports. He's given away about 424,000 barrels of oil output, and must make do on sales of about 1 million barrels. With oil down, Chavez has entered the worst phase of the oil cycle.

Couldn't happen to a better Communist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disaster Preparedness

It looks like an anonymous poster beat me to this, but I actually saw this article yesterday concerning Arizona's disaster preparedness.

The "Ready or Not: 2008" report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looked at 10 areas of emergency preparedness, including having a stockpile of vaccines, a plan to distribute those vaccines and funding.

According to the report, Arizona was lacking in the following areas:

• Stockpile pf 50 percent or more of its share of federally-subsidized antiviral medications in preparation for a potential pandemic flu.

• An intra-state courier system that operates 24 hours a day for pick up and delivery of specimens.

• Laws that reduce or limit the liability for businesses and nonprofits that serve in a public health emergencies.

• No Medical Reserve Corps coordinator.

• Meeting or exceeding the national average of 44 percent identifying pathogens responsible for foodborne disease outbreaks.

Arizona was dead last.

At one of the Health Care forums that I held during the campaign, I asked a panel of Emergency Room workers and other physicians where they would rate our emergency preparedness in Tuscon. They literally laughed. One summed it up by saying "Remember the measles outbreak?"

Money quote from the article:

Health department officials are still trying to figure out how the patients were exposed.

Dr. Michelle McDonald is with the Pima County Health Department.

Dr. McDonald says, "Most of the outbreaks that have occurred throughout the nation have been contained within maybe one or two generations. We're on the fourth or fifth generation."

Now the focus is on trying to stop the outbreak.

Couple of things: first, we were way behind on containing the outbreak compared to the national average, second the Pima County Health Department seemed to still hold jurisdiction. Where were the state folks? A national news scale outbreak not enough to get them involved?

There is no question that Napolitano spent little time with the logistic understructure of Arizona's medical and preparedness infrastructure. While important, it is simply not sexy enough to make the editorial news cycle. I know, I spent over a year campaigning on the issue and the average voter is barely this side of apathetic on the mundane details, until the system fails them personally.

So again, what is Napolitano's interest in the position? The entire job is wonkish invisible details with little credit or recognition, with the possibility of things going really, really wrong. Oh, and there is that added component of border security that will certainly force her to make hard choices, something that all sides can agree, she has little interest in doing. All of this on top of losing her "darling" local media status.

I don't get it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Janet Departs

This is WAAYYYY late, but here is my reaction:

Bad move for Obama, bad move for Janet, entirely good news for the state Republicans.

Obama- In looking at the other cabinet choices, I just don't get this one. It's not that I believe Janet not capable of fulfilling this assignment, it just that it leaves a huge weakness that may come back to haunt him later.

I have never been a fan of the Department of Homeland Security from the start. Adding another layer of bureaucracy to manage the other layers of bureaucracy never seemed like a good idea to me. It just seemed like a position was thrown up after the 911 commission report and we have been trying to figure out things for the Director to do from that point on.

Additionally, because of the constant drumbeat of criticism coming from the Democratic congress and the press, the department has become a political non-entity. They are not allowed to claim the "xxx days and counting since last terrorist attack" title for credit, nor are they really allowed to push through any policy without backlash (see building security fence.) In fact, it seems the only thing they can do is mess with flight regulations (take off your shoes, no liquids, etc.) However, should something go wrong, they will be the first head on the block. At the next successful terrorist attack, and it is coming, the person will receive a lot of scrutiny. Does Napolitano's resume show any qualifications that would withstand this type of examination? What in her past would lead us to believe that she has any understanding of counter-terorism? Any failing on her part will cement Obama as making a rookie choice and horrendous mistake. Picking any of the qualified Democrats with military experience would certainly have provided him with more cover should the unthinkable happen.

Additionally, what expectations have been placed on the position by recent criticism seem like a bad fit for Janet's skill set. Remember that "every cargo container coming into port is to be inspected!" and anything else is a complete failure. What in Janets's past of philanthropic politics would lead us to believe that she has the know how to get something like that done? Janet's MO is to look at all the issues, pick the ones that she can spin to political advantage, and ignore or avoid the rest. There is precious little in DHS that she can do that with. I would suspect that we can expect her to do away with the ridiculous liquid restrictions on airplanes, but that is the only issue I can see her being able to use the playbook.

In a position that needs strong, decisive leadership to have any relevancy, Obama picked a passive-aggressive waffler.

Janet- What was she thinking? I don't get it. Remember how Tom Ridge was the brightest rising star in the Republican universe? Nobody else does either. DHS effectively killed his political career. Obviously Janet is not doing this for a love of the job she is about to undertake, she views it as a stepping stone. But to where? To the senate, the Supreme Court, or Presidential aspirations? None of those become more likely after this appointment.

She effectively has killed any further aspirations in the state. By leaving Arizona to "the Republican wolves," she has shown herself to her Democratic allies to be the self-absorbed egotist that Republicans always thought her to be. What about the CHILDREN, Janet? What will they do now that Republicans plan to randomly set them on fire just to increase CO2 levels? It's almost like all that lip service was just pandering. I have seen enough evidence to convince me that an Arizona senate seat is now out of the question due to the percentage of state Democrats that are now done with her.

There is the line of thinking that things are so bad in the state that she is escaping before the "heat" comes down. I'm not sure that rings true either. Janet would have had a tougher time, true, but the state press is so far in her tank that it embarrasses even Obama. Janet could walk into a mall and gun down 27 people and the newspaper editorials would blame Arizona's lax gun laws without mentioning her involvement. As friendly as the press is to Obama, she won't get that nationally. In fact, she is more likely to be scapegoated in order to deflect criticism from Obama.

So unless there was some downright criminality involved, there would be no reason for Napolitano to be forced out. She had it good here, and would have been even more of a champion to certain people with the resurgence of the Republican legislature.

If the readers have any rational explanations for me, I would be happpy to hear them.

Sorry, Technical difficulties

I apologize for the lack of commentary, I had forgot the username this account was registered to and was unable to update the site. Fortunately that is all fixed now, even though I am profoundly embarrassed.

More commentary to follow shortly, especially on how spectacularly wrong I was on my previous assumption.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Janet Squeeze continues

It looks like Napolitano's bad luck streak is continuing. Apparently if she wants to ease into John McCain's senate seat, she will have to fight him for it.

I continue to assert that Janet is not the hot commodity she was even a year ago. I expect her to to take even more hits as she tries to play her usual budget games with an electorate, who by increasing a majority of conservative legislators, seems to indicate a shortening patience for it.

Looks like we get to keep Janet,

As mentioned previously it is unlikely that Janet Napolitano is going anywhere.

It does become puzzling, however how President "HopenChange" is picking the very same cabinet that Hillary Clinton would have. Maybe even including Hillary herself.

Interesting stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cure to the after- election dulldrums

Hi all!

This is Framer's wife- Framerette.

Anyways he did say that he was going to make this website much less formal, so what better way to initiate in his website ( he doesn't know about this). For those of you are looking for some new form of addiction after the elections might I suggest the Twilight series. The movie comes out in 8 days on the 21st, so there is still time to read!
Plus you will be supporting the Arizona economy because the author, Stephenie Meyer, resides in Arizona. She is likely to spend the boatload of money she will make locally.

Shh. don't tell Framer I was here.