Patterico's Pontifications

7/1/2009

Honduras Update

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 11:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Obama Administration is continuing to push for Honduras to return former President Manuel Zelaya to office. Toward that end, the U.S. has met with Zelaya, expressed support for his return, suspended military relations with Honduras, and is considering limits on any financial assistance:

“[State Department, spokesman Ian C.] Kelly said the administration was still studying whether the forced removal of Zelaya was a military coup in a legal sense that would trigger a cutoff or suspension of American financial assistance.

“Our legal advisers are actively assessing the facts and the law in question, which we take very seriously,” Kelly said.”

The Obama Administration should have considered whether this was a coup before taking a position on Zelaya’s return, but I hope Obama’s posturing doesn’t end up jeopardizing Honduran lives and the country’s democracy.

— DRJ

WWCD?

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 7:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

What Will California Do to solve its $26.3B deficit? And in the meantime, will it have to pay its debts with IOUs as this LA Times article suggests?

“If lawmakers and the governor do not agree on a plan to wipe out the deficit — or at least part of it — by the end of today, State Controller John Chiang will begin giving out IOUs in lieu of checks to pay debts owed by the state.
***
Meanwhile, Chiang, who acts as the state’s banker, has scheduled a Thursday morning meeting of a state board that will determine what interest rate the state will pay on the $3 billion a month in IOUs it will begin issuing to contractors and some of California’s neediest citizens, including the elderly, the disabled and the poor.”

Small business owners, the elderly, the disabled and the poor seem like the people who can least afford to deal with not being paid.

— DRJ

Texas Governor Rick Perry on How to Run a State

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 2:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

PJTV’s Instapundit interview of Texas Governor Rick Perry includes Perry’s four simple rules for a healthy economy:

“You keep your taxes low, keep your regulatory climate fair and predictable, a legal system that doesn’t allow for oversuing, and keep a skilled workforce in place. Then get out of the way and let the private sector do what the private sector does best and create jobs and wealth.”

Texas has a balanced budget with $9B in a rainy day fund, a legislature that only meets 140 days out of every 2 years, and low taxes.

— DRJ

The Great Car Sales Mystery

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 1:49 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yahoo reports that, in June 2009, GM’s sales declined 33.4%, Toyota’s sales were off 32%, Honda fell 30%, Nissan was down 23%, and Chrysler’s numbers were dismal. It sold 68,297 cars nationwide. In contrast, Ford gained market share and it’s sales were only off 10.7% compared to June 2008. In fact, Ford plans to increase production by 25,000 vehicles. What a mystery:

“Ford’s surprisingly low decline came after a string of months in which it and other automakers reported year-over-year drops of more than 40 percent. Ford’s sales were down 24 percent in May and off 37 percent for the first five months of the year.”

What could cause this disparity? The next paragraph hints at the answer:

“Ford is the sole U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection and it’s the only one not receiving government loans to keep from running out of money. GM and Chrysler are receiving billions in loans, and GM inching its way closer to escaping Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a company to stay in operation under court protection while it sheds debts and unprofitable assets to emerge in a stronger financial position.”

The government contends car sales will stabilize once Chrysler and GM emerge from bankruptcy and the economy improves. Maybe so. All I know is I’m not interested in buying from a government/union-owned car company.

— DRJ

Palin’s Story Divides Republicans

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 1:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Politico headlines this week’s GOP feud featuring Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol and former McCain campaign chairman Steve Schmidt:

“Rival factions close to the McCain campaign have been feuding since last fall over Palin, usually waging the battle in the shadows with anonymous quotes. Now, however, some of the most well-known names in Republican politics are going on-the-record with personal attacks and blame-casting.

William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and at times an informal adviser to Sen. John McCain, touched off the latest back-and-forth Tuesday morning with a post on his magazine’s blog criticizing the Todd Purdum-authored Palin story and pointing a finger at Steve Schmidt, McCain’s campaign manager.”

Kristol, with support from former McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann, believe Schmidt was responsible for rumors that Palin’s behavior was caused by post-partum depression. I guess PPD is today’s version of the Eagleton situation, but Politico does a good job summing up the real issue:

“Was Palin a fresh talent whose debut was mishandled by self-serving campaign insiders, or an eccentric “diva” who had no business on the national stage? Going forward, does she offer a conservative and charismatic face for a demoralized and star-less party? Or is she a loose cannon who should be consigned to the tabloids where she can reside in perpetuity with other flash-in-the-pan sensations?”

I think Palin should be Palin but IMO she has two choices: First, get a good campaign staff and manager and bet it all on being herself. With luck and good timing, she may be able to do what Obama did — especially with so many problems in unemployment and the economy.

Alternatively, she could run a Hillary-type campaign that focuses on gravitas and bland steadiness. This approach probably won’t win a primary, let alone a general election, but it could position Palin for a Senate run or a position in a future Republican Administration.

— DRJ


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