Monday, January 27, 2014

Something All My Wall Street Friends Should Read

Charlie Gasparino's column today is a must read for everyone in the financial industry. You can view it here.

The gist: you have no clue what's going on in the Democrat party and you are nuts if you think Hillary Clinton will be your friend. Learn, live it, know it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Socialist Man

Bill de Blasio wanted to raise taxes on the rich to pay for universal pre-K. Now Governor Cuomo says he's going to make it happen without any tax hikes, but de Blasio wants his tax hike on the wealthy anyway. Because.

Yesterday, in the season's biggest snow storm, the upper east side was plowed last. Coincidence? This is a page right out of former DC mayor Marion Barry's playbook. He would always plow Georgetown last, if at all.

Can there be any doubt who and what this guy is? A one-man economic development program for the state of Florida. (I already know my first person bound for Miami, specifically because of de Blasio.)  Get used to seeing de Blasio use the government as a political tool, much as Obama has done at the federal level. That this will go badly may be the most predictable political outcome since Obamacare.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Natural Gas Cars Are Better than Electric

We feel good about ourselves in my town, yes we do. We have installed six electric car refueling stations. If you could see us right now, we are giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. We are thinking globally and acting locally!

In case you weren’t sure, that was sarcasm. What kind of bizarre logic thinks this is a good way to spend taxpayer money? No one, I mean no one, is going to use these things. First, do you know long it takes to charge an electric car? I'll answer that: four to six hours. I’d like to know who’s going to sit around for that long while their car charges. The town, perhaps realizing this, is putting them places like train stations so people can leave them to charge while they commute to the city. But…think. Someone arriving at the station has presumably spent the night charging their car, so it’s already full. Okay then, for argument's sake, let’s say that they forgot. They plug their car in and head to the city. Then what? No one else can use that pump for the whole day?

One wonders if anyone bothered to actually count the number of electric cars in town. I personally know of one. Oh, I know the argument, if you build it, “they will come.” Except they won’t because there are good reasons no one is buying electric cars and their makers are going bankrupt. The technical term is they suck. Long recharging times, poor range, and big price tags. No wonder consumers only bought 23,000 Chevy Volts last year, despite a passel of incentives from the government. (Not just money, either, but things like access to HOV lanes. In my town, you get cheaper parking.) The massive Ford F150 pickup, on the other hand, sold 763,000 units last year.  

But nothing will match the smug self-righteousness of a someone driving a Nissan Leaf fifty-five in the fast lane, usually right in front of you. He's saving the world, so you can damn well wait.

Do greens ponder, I wonder, where the electricity to power these cars comes from? Usually, it's from from coal-fired plants, something we’re not supposed to like one bit. In our case, though, most of it comes from a nuclear plant. While I love nuclear power, the green crowd detests it, even though it is carbon-free. Are you following this?

What we should be doing is building out the infrastructure to support cars that run on CNG, or compressed natural gas. Here's one you can buy right now:

 2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas

Natural gas is abundant, sourced in the U.S., and amazingly cheap. Right now, the average price per gallon in the U.S. is $2.12. Cars using it require less maintenance. It also runs cleaner than regular gas, which should make the greens happy, but it doesn't. They immediately think of "fracking," and Yoko Ono has told them that fracking is bad, so it must be.

The U.S. should be building out its natural gas infrastructure now. It actually won't be that difficult, because there is already a whole network of natural gas pipelines. What we need is to get it to the pump, like in the picture above. Right now, you can see if there are any pumps near you here. There are currently 660 stations selling CNG. The nearest to me is 15 miles away, so unfortunately, a CNG car is not an option for me yet.

Is it for you?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Of Fat Men and Frenchmen

I am always amused that Republicans think they can be friends with Democrats and their media toadies. They think back to best buds of yesteryear, like Sam Nunn or Scoop Jackson, or when Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil drank beer together. There is an air of desperation about it all, like so many Sally Fields: "You like me, you really like me!"

Except they don't. Oh, they will pretend to be pals when it's politically expedient, like when they're setting up a softie candidate for the presidential nomination, only to commence evisceration the very next morning (hello, John McCain, are you there?). Or when, say, a Teddy Kennedy needed George Bush on board for No Child Left Behind. He was all sweetness and light, but as soon as the ink was dry, he reverted to form as the poster boy for Bush haters everywhere.

And then there's this:

Arguably, Christie gave the election to Obama with the famous bro-hug. Note that this weird, sideways facing posture is surely the result of both men wanting to face towards the press corps. What Obama gained is clear enough, but Christie? He thought he had a new friend, and it never hurts when that friend is POTUS, right?

How naive, and now Christie knows just how much so. The Justice Department, which has been nothing if not Obama's lapdog, is now probing not one but two Christie-related scandals. (They apparently have plenty of time on their hands given their indifference to the IRS scandal, among others.) One, of course, is a traffic jam, clearly a matter of federal import. The other is the possible misallocation of Hurricane Sandy funds. (I happen to view the latter somewhat more seriously, but that's another matter.)

The point is, Republicans, I'm talking to you. Stop being such idiotic fools. Hellooo, McFly. Democrats are not your friends. They hate you and think you're evil. Get over your Stockholm Syndrome and grow a pair.

And so the Frenchman, Hollande. They play by a different set of rules in France, don't they? Imagine a place where absolutely no personal judgements were passed on any sort of personal behavior. A liberal paradise, non? Welcome to modern France, where matters libertine are confused with sophistication.

A little background is called for. For the moment, let's look past the fact that Hollande, a bespectacled socialist class-warrior, has five, count 'em, five names. Francois Gerard Georges Nicolas Hollande. For the moment.

For a long time, Hollande dated this woman:

Segolene Royal

They had four kids together, but marriage seemed like a hopelessly provincial thing to do, so they never bothered...

Then, Hollande started cheating on Royal with this woman, a political journalist (cue bad John Edwards memories):

Valerie Trierweiler

Soon, he blew off Royal and Trierweiler moved in. None of this bothered the French, because they then elected Hollande as president. Trierweiler became First Lady, because in France being the president's main squeeze is close enough (see marriage, provincial). Trierweiler receives all the perks that any First Lady would, including staff, cars, all expenses paid travel, etc.

Now, it seems Hollande is cheating on Trierweiler with this woman:

Julie Gayet

Still with me? I hope so, because it gets better. It is now unclear whether Trierweiler gets to keep playing First Lady. That appears to be up to Hollande. I'm sure that conversation will go well. Hey, Val, got a minute? I'm dumping you for someone else, and, oh, would you mind moving out of the palace by tomorrow?

Does Gayet get to become the new First Lady? Hell if I know. What I do know is that Hollande's approval rating has actually ticked up, a possible referendum on Gayet's hotness. Or maybe the French are just a nation of dissolute layabouts and we should try very hard not to be like them.