Friday, November 18, 2005

Extra $2 million secured to help rebuild Bluebird Canyon

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office announces the federal funding boost, which will go toward repairing an area devastated by heavy winter storms.By LAYLAN CONNELLY The Orange County Register

More federal funding was approved today to help rebuild Bluebird Canyon, an area devastated by a landslide June 1 after a winter of heavy storms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office announced that $2 million has been secured to reconstruct Flamingo Road. The aid would be in addition to help promised last week by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We were very pleased to get the funding for what we believe is an urgently needed project," said Howard Gantman, spokesman for Feinstein.

Earlier this week, Laguna Beach got word that FEMA had reconsidered its denial to assist the landslide area. FEMA concluded that heavy winter storms caused the slide.

FEMA denied help to Laguna in late August after concluding the landslide couldn't be attributed specifically to heavy rains in January and February. The city, through the state Office for Emergency Services, appealed that decision in September.

Though a specific amount from FEMA is unknown, the city expects to receive about $5 million.
Total federal assistance is now expected at $7 million, but Mayor Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider said more is needed to repay the city for work being done in the area - the total bill is $15 million.

She is still pushing for a half-cent sales tax up for vote on Dec. 13. The funds would generate about $10.2 million during six years, which will help pay back the city and create a fund for future disasters.

As for Feinstein's help, Pearson-Schneider said: "She's my new hero."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005



“What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie. The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.”

Every time I hear Vice President Cheney speak he seems very much the genleman. Yet, he is viewed as very mean. Very odd.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

China Progress and Problems

President Bush is off to a visit in China. Should review the points made by R. Glenn Hubbard in the Wall Street Journal Market Comrades (subscription required)

· “China's GDP has more than quintupled in the past 25 years”
· “Per capita income of China -- less than that of Ghana or Nigeria 25 years ago -- is now comparable to that of the Philippines”
· “The real question for China is how to promote efficient saving and investment”
· “China's national saving rate is extraordinary; estimated at more than 40% of GDP”
· “Chinese financial system [has] poorly developed markets for consumer finance, home mortgages and insurance”
· “At about 50% of GDP, China's fixed investment is almost certainly well above its efficient level”
· “Its government-dominated banking system allocates credit poorly, and bank dominance combined with gaps in investor protection have impeded the growth of domestic capital markets”
· “Many Western economists believe that the Chinese banking system as a whole is insolvent, with nonperforming loans possibly as large as 40% of GDP”
· “Need to grow sufficiently rapidly to absorb tens of millions of underemployed rural workers”
· He “suggests constructive avenues of engagement -- encouraging market liberalization, capital-market reform, cleanup of the banking system, and improved corporate governance -- as well as discussions of exchange-rate policy.”
· “focus on the [yuan against the U.S. dollar ] exchange rate muddies the waters”

Monday, November 14, 2005

California Initiaitives

California voters got the initiative process to make law thanks to the early 1900s Progressive movement. “On October 10, 1911, by way of a special election called by Governor Hiram Johnson, the initiative process was established in California by a margin of 168,744 to 52,093 votes”.

Thereby voters have a means to take action when the legislature is controlled by self-serving special interests. Then it was the railroads, now the public employee unions.

In their glee over their ability to use millions of dollars to mislead the voters and thwart Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger reforms, they might reflect on how the Los Angeles Times sums up their efforts (Los Angeles Times November 12, 2005 editorial) “Negative campaigning — with heavy financial support and highly deceptive advertising from opponents, including the public employee unions — helped assure that the measure would go down in flames.”

A far cry from Governor Johnson inaugural address January 3, 1911 “The problem first presented to us, therefore, is how best can the government be made responsive to the people? …The State is entitled to the highest efficiency in our public service…[and]…prevent the misuse of the power temporarily centralized in the Legislature” []

Afgan Election Results – Remember That Election

See AFGHANISTAN: Election results finalised

“Of the country's 12.5 million registered voters, some 6.8 million Afghans took part in the polls to elect a national legislature and 34 provincial councils for a five-year term.

Almost 5,800 candidates contested the poll, including over 2,700 for the 249-seat Wolesi Jirga and more than 3,000 for 420 seats in the provincial councils.

Afghanistan’s last parliamentary elections were held in 1969, before a coup in 1973 and the 1979-89 occupation by the Soviet Union.”

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Could the cause of the recent oil and gasoline prices be the oil futures market and hedge funds?

Could the cause of the recent oil and gasoline prices be the oil futures market and hedge funds?

OPEC: Oil production exceeding demand
Special to World
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE Wednesday, September 7, 2005

ABU DHABI — OPEC has asserted that oil production by the 10-member organization has exceeded global demand.
“OPEC president Ahmed Fahd Al Sabah said members have been producing 30.4 million barrels of oil per day. Ahmed, the Kuwaiti oil minister, said this was one million barrels per day over market demands.

"This production is more than the market needs to allow the building of strategic and commercial stocks in order to stabilize prices," Ahmed told the official Kuwait News Agency.”