Fed Chairwoman Yellen claims low inflation is at the root of our weak economy

Everyone needs to grab their wallet, things are about to become even more expensive than they are today. Via Larry Kudlow:

It used to be hypothesized that low inflation was the key to high economic growth. For everybody in the economy, low inflation was a tax cut. Conversely, rapidly rising prices were thought to penalize the economy by placing a tax-hike effect on investors, businesses, and families. It was this logic that spurred Paul Volcker (especially) and then Alan Greenspan to labor mightily in the 1980s and 1990s to bring inflation down.

The Fed’s favorite inflation measure — the personal consumption deflator — has risen about 1 percent over the past year, as has the consumer price index. When I grew up professionally in the 1970s, first as a New York Fed staffer and then as a Wall Street economist, no one — and I mean no one in their right mind — would ever have dreamed that double-digit inflation could be brought down to 1 percent. But Janet Yellen is now telling us that low inflation is a sign, and perhaps even a cause, of the weak economy.

The Wall Street Journal headline last week was “Fed Shows Growing Worry about Low Inflation.” As the narrative unfolds, both the Federal Reserve and the IMF blame low inflation for small wage gains, excess business capacity, and soft global demand.

Not for one nanosecond should anybody believe this nonsense.

Kudlow is being charitable by ascribing altruistic motives to Chairwoman Yellen (and by extension our ‘Leaders’ in Washington).

“You know, we need to do something about the weak economy and high unemployment…”

In reality, politicians in Washington want high inflation to facilitate spending more money without raising taxes to pay for the spending. Furthermore, creating inflation also allows politicians a clever way to avoid accounting for the full amount deficit spending they are engaging in.

Milton Friedman explained this nicely way back in 1978:

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Friedman really hit the nail on the head how “we the people” are complicit in this. Well, not all “we the people.

Rare Shelby Mustang GT500 found under 40 years of dust

garage find 1969_ford_shelby_mustang_gt_500_428_cobra_jet

This is amazing:

A 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 428 Cobra Jet is a mouthful to say but it will drop any car enthusiasts jaw. This particular garage-find was owned and perfectly preserved by a now-deceased automotive connoisseur.

Larry never washed the car for fear of scratching the paintjob or cause even the slightest bit of rust. Yahoo News estimates that the only time the car was ever washed was before delivery. Accordingly, the car is in absolute show room condition, except for a layer of dust.

This snake features a larger, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission, which has only run 8,500 miles in total. The spark plugs, belts, fan, and hoses are all original. The only items that are not from 1968 are the tires.

If you have an extra 100K laying around, this would make a fantastic investment.

Here’s a short but interesting video discussing the history of the Shelby Mustang:

Earth Hour: Why celebrate turning off our lights when electricity has done so much to advance the human condition?

Tonight is the goofy “Earth Hour” where eco-fanatics in the developed world sit in darkness for an hour, contemplating whatever eco-loons contemplate:

On Saturday March 29th at 8:30pm, millions of people across the world are switching off lights for one hour – to celebrate their commitment to the planet.

However, it should be noted that electricity use = greater life expectancy.

electricity-life expectancyRemind me again why we’re making electricity more scarce rather than more plentiful?

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And, if you don’t play along with their insanity, eco-loons want to go with a medieval inquisition to get ‘climate deniers’ minds right.

Feel good story of the day: Treehugger thinks “climate change deniers have won”

“Victory settles a lot of arguments in most men’s heads.”
Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

With the multifaceted assault on our freedoms by the American left, it’s easy to overlook the small gains that sanity makes from time to time.

For example, ask a TreeHugger if they are making inroads expanding their radical environmentalist agenda, and they would tell you something like this:

Nick Cohen, a columnist in the Observer (the Guardian Sunday paper) writes a thoroughly depressing but important article about how, essentially, the climate change deniers have won. He is speaking from Britain, but one sees the same thing going on in the USA, Canada and Australia as well.

Remember how in 2008 / 2009 the global warming hoax was all the rage when nearly everyone jumped on the bandwagon, buying into the theory wholeheartedly. Remember how in 2009 nearly every other T.V commercial featured a stupid windmill? But, with facts and persistence we on the right have turned public opinion.

Now, let’s do something about ObamaCare….

“Leading from behind” isn’t inspiring confidence among our European allies

“The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”

Joseph Stalin

Obama’s penchant of “leading from behind” on Crimea isn’t inspiring confidence among our European allies. Via BBC:

Another nuclear power, mightier than Russia, will be watching – China is very interested in how far the US will go in defence of its friends.

However, this speech also contained a stern warning to Mr Putin – “hands off the Baltics!”

Mr Obama made it clear that if a Nato country was attacked, article five – pledging a common military response – would be invoked.

That having been said, Mr Obama is asking Stalin’s question of Nato – how many divisions do they have?

Both in terms of political will and fighting forces.

The US has long wanted Europe to spend more and do more as it is doing less and spending less. Next week the US will announce it is sending more troops and naval forces to Europe – but it wants its allies to match that.

They won’t.

After the European Union’s display of unity of the lowest common denominator over sanctions, none of this is very encouraging for those who believe this is a key moment for the US and the West.

Yep, and we have a community organizer occupying the White House during this key moment.

Can’t say we weren’t warned.

Going Green Without Thinking: Helium balloons with turbines generate electricity and Wi-Fi

Radical environmentalists need to get a grip:

Think of these floating turbines as the wind farms of the future and you won’t be that far off. Developed by Altaeros energies, the floating turbines are designed to take advantage of the powerful prevailing winds that exist 2,000 feet above our heads. Once they’ve been inflated and deployed, these floating power plants can generate twice the output of a ground-based turbine. The tethers that keep the turbine anchored in place also send that energy ground-ward.

While in the air, the turbines can also serve as Wi-Fi, cell service hubs, and weather monitoring stations. Furthermore, the turbine’s helium-inflated housing is durable enough for deployment in either the blazing sun or freezing snow. Basically, anywhere you install one of these suckers, you instantly get data coverage, electricity and local weather data, even if your previous system involved a sun dial and carrier pigeons.

Looks “high tech” enough…

balloon mounted wind turbines

Except for one small problem… Obtaining helium requires fracking for natural gas and extracting it ‘naturally’ from the ground:

Helium is generated underground by the radioactive decay of heavy elements such as uranium and thorium. Part of the radiation from these elements consists of alpha particles, which form the nuclei of helium atoms. Some of this helium finds its way to the surface and enters the atmosphere, where it quickly rises and escapes into space. The rest becomes trapped under impermeable layers of rock and mixes with the natural gases that form there. The amount of helium found in various natural gas deposits varies from almost zero to as high as 4% by volume. Only about one-tenth of the working natural gas fields have economically viable concentrations of helium greater than 0.4%.

Or, most likely, refining helium from natural gas which is a very energy intensive process:

Helium is usually produced as a byproduct of natural gas processing. Natural gas contains methane and other hydrocarbons, which are the principal sources of heat energy when natural gas is burned. Most natural gas deposits also contain smaller quantities of nitrogen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, helium, and other non-combustible materials, which lower the potential heat energy of the gas. In order to produce natural gas with an acceptable level of heat energy, these impurities must be removed. This process is called upgrading.

There are several methods used to upgrade natural gas. When the gas contains more than about 0.4% helium by volume, a cryogenic distillation method is often used in order to recover the helium content. Once the helium has been separated from the natural gas, it undergoes further refining to bring it to 99.99+% purity for commercial use.

Why not simply cut to the chase, and use the natural gas to generate electricity in the first place?

Video: First Test of 2014 Camaro Z28

2014 Camaro z28 -2

2014 Camaro z28 -1

If you have an extra $77K laying around, and you want to watch a TreeHugging Prius driver’s head explode, this might be the ride for you…

Gushing torque accompanied a glorious, bellowing note from an adjustable exhaust as we blasted from 0-60 in 4.0 flat and through the quarter in 12.3 seconds at 117.2 mph, out-muscling the 1LE M/T tested (4.3 and 12.7 at 111.8, respectively). The rewarding chassis inspired some real North Georgia haul-ass. Huge grip: 1.06 g lateral! The Torsen diff is mostly open at corner entry, helping those 305s aim the big Z for the apex, but hooks up on power. Watch out: The 481 lb-ft of peak torque is realized at 4800, so the rears can break loose way out toward the exit. The six-stick is hefty, slick, and willing, and as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help thinking cars like this won’t be around much longer. The brakes bite right now, evidenced by a 60-0 stopping distance of only 97 feet. And thank you, lord, the ABS programming is also track-ready, and far superior to the iffy Mustang’s. The Multimatics hit the bulls-eye sweet spot between mush and punish, and it’s fine on the street, too — for a racer, at least. A back-to-back with the 1LE model revealed eye-opening power and braking advantages to the Z/28. But I love that bargain-brute, too — so friendly at the limit. Part of that is in the tires. The 1LE’s Goodyear F1s were so predictable; the extreme-grip Trofeo Rs a bit sudden when they slid.

Here’s the video:

MCT response to lib critic regarding Detroit Public Schools plan to construct urban farm

Seems like a liberal nerve was struck by a recent MCT post illustrating the insanity of the Detroit Public School district plan to create an urban farm at an abandoned school campus. Via MCT:

Detroit Public Schools officials plan Thursday to announce details of a project to turn the sprawling site at the corner of Van Dyke Road and I-94 into a 26.9-acre urban farm.

The announcement will come as part of a real estate developers conference on what to do with Detroit’s dozens of vacant former school buildings.

The school district plans to build eight hoop houses and start growing vegetables on the new Kettering Urban Agricultural Campus in 2014, with later phases to include food processing and distribution to students and the community, officials said Wednesday.

As pointed out here @ MCT this effort is a colossal waste of time and sure money loser for the school district. Given the district’s chronic academic under achievement and the fact Detroit Public Schools have their very own Emergency Financial Manager, you would think most people understand the school district needs to get the basics under control before embarking on an urban farming boondoggle. If you thought that, you would be wrong.

Via MCT Twitter Feed:

“Education should proceed snark.” Really?

How about financial responsibility to taxpayers before embarking on a “hip, green” boondoggle? Or, more importantly, how about teaching children in your district to read and perform basic math before wasting time growing carrots at an abandoned school?

In case you are unaware of the scope of the Detroit Public School district failure to its students, here are a couple of eye-opening statistics outlining 8th grade student performance in math:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level as 3 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (4 percent) and in 2009 (4 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level as 24 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (29 percent) and in 2009 (23 percent).

DPS student performance in reading is just as poor:

  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level was 9 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (7 percent) and in 2009 (7 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Detroit who performed at or above the NAEP Basic level was 46 percent in 2013. This percentage was not significantly different from that in 2011 (43 percent) and in 2009 (40 percent).

Detroit Public Schools (complete with an Emergency Financial Manager in tow) should reconsider their ‘urban farm’ pipe dream. When only 9% of their 8th grade students are considered at a ‘proficient’ reading level and a staggering 3% are considered at a ‘proficient’ level in math, failing to focus all their time and resources on the children in their classrooms is shameful.

So, who precisely, is putting snark ahead of education?