April 28, 2009

Another T-Shirt Post

Today's adventures in Socialism come to us from Powerline.

Starting with the complete nationalization of General Motors in a perverse deal that gives current bond holders 10 percent of the company's common stock in exchange for $27 Billion in bonds, and gives the UAW 40 percent of the Stock in exchange for $10 billion in bonds.

This must be that "new" math I've heard about where there are no wrong answers as long as you feel good about your solution.

The remaining 50 percent of the stock will belong to The Federal Government. And since The One will probably do whatever his bosses at the UAW ask him to do, General Motors is now effectively run by the union.

There is also a deal in the works to keep Chrysler out of the bankruptcy courts. How do you think the UAW fill fare in that arrangement?

The Fed is also setting the stage for a complete federal takeover of Citigroup and Bank of America. (You weren't really expecting them to pass the "Stress Test" were you.)

Next week, The One is going to unveil the newly revised Preamble to the Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, build green cars, offer free checking, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The t-shirt is right. This bumper sticker too.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:39 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 24, 2009

Out From Under the TARP

At Hot Air I read the story of TCF Bank. Which has at considerable cost, escaped control of The One and the Tax Cheat of the Treasury by buying its way out of the TARP program.

TCF Financial Corporation announced Wednesday that it had completed the repurchase of its TARP preferred stock from the U.S. Treasury. It paid a redemption price of $361.2 million plus accrued dividends of $3.4 million.

If I'm figuring it right (and there's no guarantee of that) the Fed made a profit of .94%. So the Tax Cheat managed to do a little better than the current Fed Discount rate of .5%. If they can keep that up The Fed will make about $3.1 billion above what they could have brought in loaning banks money at the discoount rate. Add that to the $100 million The One told his cabinet to save and we're well on our way to a balanced budget.

TCF Chairman and CEO William A. Cooper said the bank had maintained a strong capital position over the last year through its own operations, and it didn’t need to rely on the public capital infusion to continue its traditional lending pace. Cooper said TCF is the largest bank to pay back TARP funds to the U.S. Treasury.

TCF’s executives had complained that Treasury and the U.S. Congress had subverted the TARP program by changing its rules after banks had joined. Those rules added controls over compensation and dividends programs, and Cooper said those changes contributed to a stigma of weakness and reliance on public support – a stigma that didn’t reflect his bank’s condition.

In a nutshell, being associated with TARP was tarnishing the banks reputation - even though it didn't need the money. Plus it sounds like the people that run the bank had a serious problem with The Fed changing the rules and taking greater control. Good for them.

As part of the agreement for withdrawing from the program, TCF also agreed to reduce its first-quarter dividend from 25 cents to 5 cents.

This part I don't get, or like. TCF has 127.7 million shares of outstanding stock (up 6.12% in today's trading). The Fed just made them cut their dividend by $25.5 million dollars. According to the bank they have the capital to continue operating as they wish, without TARP money (plus interest). Now The Fed has forced them to hold on to another $25.5 million in capital.

Will The One and his apprentice force TCF to use that money to issue CRA loans to people who can't afford to pay them back? Did they just do it out of spite?

Will the money sit there on the books until they pay an even bigger dividend the next time around?

Congtarulations to TDF and it's chairman William A. Cooper for kicking the TARP to the curb. I think I will have to nominate them for a mention on Heroes of Capitalism.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:55 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 22, 2009

The One to Replace Blackberry?

The One may just have to cast aside his much loved Blackberry when he discovers that Bodelin Technologies has created a software package that will allow him to us an iPhone as a teleprompter.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:58 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

What the Shirt Says

I made t-shirt and put it for sale on Zazzle.com. You can see it in the little widget at the top of the sidebar. On this shirt I outlined in the simplest possible terms the political and economic meaning of Socialism.

A political theory advocating state ownership of industry

An economic system based on state ownership of capital

A few people I know - having seen the design with The One's logo as the "o" in socialism - accused me of exaggerating.

But this story in the the New York Times confirms that the shirt was right - logo and all.

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, according to administration officials.

In a significant shift, White House and Treasury Department officials now say they can stretch what is left of the $700 billion financial bailout fund further than they had expected a few months ago, simply by converting the government’s existing loans to the nation’s 19 biggest banks into common stock.

Converting those loans to common shares would turn the federal aid into available capital for a bank — and give the government a large ownership stake in return.

While the option appears to be a quick and easy way to avoid a confrontation with Congressional leaders wary of putting more money into the banks, some critics would consider it a back door to nationalization, since the government could become the largest shareholder in several banks.

The Treasury has already negotiated this kind of conversion with Citigroup and has said it would consider doing the same with other banks, as needed. But now the administration seems convinced that this maneuver can be used to make up for any shortfall in capital that the big banks confront in the near term.

Each conversion of this type would force the administration to decide how to handle its considerable voting rights on a bank’s board.

Remember that among the 19 banks they want to this to are banks who have already expressed a desire to repay the TARP money and been refused by The Tax Cheat of the Treasury.

This is socialism. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying or an idiot.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:18 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 21, 2009

By Popular Demand

By popular demand (one guy in the comments) I have created a bumper sticker version of the Obama Socialism Explained t-shirt. I'm a capitalist. I'm all about giving the customer what they want.

I had to cut out some copy and redo the type layout to make it work on the sticker but I don't think too much is lost in the translation.

In related news, I am happy to report that Hold the Mayo Enterprises has made it's first sales. Two copies of the original "Socialism Sucks" have been sold making me a pre-tax profit of $.60.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:55 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 20, 2009

Obama Makes Change

Change has finally come to Washington D.C. thanks to The One.

Because when a President who is responsible for $4.8 Trillion spending in three months ($3.5 Trillion 2010 budget, $787 Billion Stimulus, $5.5 Billion omnibus bill) orders his cabinet to save $100 million, what else can you call it but change.

And small change at that.

President Obama convened his Cabinet for the first time today and instructed department heads to trim their budgets by a combined $100 million over the next 90 days.

Although the cuts would account to a minuscule portion of the federal budget, they are intended to signal the president's determination to trim spending and reform government, a senior administration official said.

I think The One has clearly signaled his determination to reduce spending.

Hat Tip: Hot Air

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 19, 2009

They Never Learn

I'm sure by now you've seen the video of the CNN "journalist" "reporting" from the Tax Day Tea Party in Chicago. It was perhaps the most naked display of partisan advocacy by the legacy media.

Apparently CNN is not too happy with the play this has gotten on the internet and has been leaning on You Tube to take the clip down for Copyright violations. I think it is fairly obvious they would lose the argument in court on fair use grounds. But that's not really the point. The point is they tried to make it go away.

I hate when they do that.

So I did what I always do. I downloaded the You Tube video and converted it to a handy WMV file in three convenient sizes.

Download it here and upload it to You Tube. Tell all your friends.

UPDATE: I put it on You Tube as well.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:06 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

April 17, 2009

Economics is Not Rocket Science

I love movies. They are a great way to put aside the world for an hour or so and get wrapped up in a good story. Hell, even if the movie stinks and the story is awful, the escape is still welcome.

I particularly like great movie lines. That one bit of dialog that can evoke the entire film. Clint Eastwood has a quite a few of those lines in his career. "Do you feel lucky, punk?" "A man's got to know his limitations." And most recently, "Get off my lawn."

Sometimes a line can have a significant cultural impact. George H.W. Bush famously appropriated another Eastwood classic "Read my lips." It didn't work out to well.

One movie line seems to have been taken to heart by our culture in a very misinterpreted way with disastrous results. It sort of lays the blame for the whole economic and bailout mess in the lap of one man. Ed Harris.

It seems to me we have taken this to heart far too deeply and seriously. Failure may not have been an option for those trying to save the Apollo 13 astronauts, but there are situations in life where failure is not only an option it is a necessity.

Companies go bankrupt. They go out of business. They fail. When that happens they liquidate their assets and they are acquired by someone who can more effectively put them to productive use. 

We should have let that happen with a few more banks, but we decided "Failure is not an option."

We should have let that happen to AIG but we decided that "Failure is not an option."

We should have let that happen to General Motors and Chrysler but we have apparently once again that "Failure is not an option."

Failure is good. Failure tells us where we screwed up so we don't do it again. But it seems that we have become a culture that has perverted the thought that "Failure is not an option." In its original sense it meant that those involved should do everything possible to achieve success. That they should push themselves and strive to come out on top. Today in our culture it seems to mean "Don't expect me to succeed. But don't allow me to fail."

The urge to be parented and cushioned from the blows of our own inadequacies had reached such frightening levels that this was written by a journalist - and was not intended as satire:

Years of foolish policies have left us with a choice: We can bail out journalism, using tax dollars and granting licenses in ways that encourage robust and independent reporting and commentary, or we can watch, wringing our hands, as more and more top journalists are laid off or bail out, leaving us with nothing in our newspapers but ads, entertainment features and crossword puzzles.

Rosa Brooks has been a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and that quote came from her farewell column. She is leaving the Times to take a job with the Obama administration.

Hat Tip: T.F. Stern

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:03 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

April 14, 2009

Do You C.A.R.E.?

Are you a Rightwing Extremist?

Have you hesitated about joining a Rightwing Extremist organization or group?

Then I invite you to consider

There is no cost to join the Council of American Rightwing Extremists and your membership will always be free of charge.

We do ask that from time to time you chatter about Rightwing Extremist issues - particularly online. Suggested topics include, the economy and unemployment, your rights guaranteed under the Constitution (with particular emphasis on the First and Second Amendments). You might also consider agitating for such concepts as national sovereignty, immigration enforcement and the concept of federalism as enshrined in the Constitution.

It is not required that you buy a t-shirt. Though it would be nice.

Remember, you are a Rightwing Extremist because you CARE about individual liberty and freedom. You are a Rightwing Extremist because you CARE about America.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 06:00 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

April 10, 2009

The Left's Only Argument

I have seen this video on about 100 different sites today. (Yes, I know, I need a life!). So I thought I should make it 101 by posting it here.

Andrew Klavan - On the Culture.

I don't know who Andrew Klavan is, but this video puts him a rank with British MEP Daniel Hanan. 

There's a transcript of the video below the fold if you want it.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:05 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 09, 2009

Overestimating the Market

This Rasmussen survey certainly explains the extremely poor sales of my t-shirts. I may have vastly overestimated the market.

Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism

The internal breakdowns are even more depressing.

Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

Assuming that only a percentage of those who prefer capitalism are likely to buy a t-shirt on the web, and the vastly smaller percentage of those people who have seen this site, it's no wonder I'm still waiting to celebrate my first sale.

Incidentally, I have opened a shop on Zazzle.com. I have already created all of the Obama Socialism products and as soon as I get around to recreating the First and Second Amendment shirts there, I am closing down the Cafe Press shop. I don't know if the prices or quality are any better or worse at  Zazzle.com but it offers greater flexibility than Cafe Press does with its free account.

Plus they have this nice little flash thing that I put in the sidebar to make your purchase even easier.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:37 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 08, 2009

We Just Took the Red Pill

"We don't know who struck first. Us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky."

I read a story like this and I can't help but think of the unintended consequences always associated with even the most minor federal policies.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

"It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table."

Holdren outlined several "tipping points" involving global warming that could be fast approaching. Once such milestones are reached, such as complete loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic, it increases chances of "really intolerable consequences," he said.

Twice in a half-hour interview, Holdren compared global warming to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

Surely there is no way that could end badly otherwise the government wouldn't even be considering it. Right?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:09 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

Climate Question

If it is true that April Showers bring May flowers, then what does April Global Warming Bring?

Yes it snowed in Connecticut today. al Gore must be visiting.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:37 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

April 02, 2009

New Shirts and Price Reduction

I worked up a new graphic for my Cafe Press collection of shirts and reduced the price of the original "Socialism Sucks" shirts.

Still no progress on the Third Amendment shirt though.

I had to go with long sleeves for this design because unless you pay for a premium shop you can only have one of each item listed and I've already used all of the basic t-shirts. Since I haven't actually sold anything yet, I don't have the capital to invest.

Here's the new shirt.

The extended entry has a larger version of the art so you can actually read it before you buy. If you really really really want it on a t-shirt let me know and I'll make it happen.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:39 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment

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