Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hershey No Longer Makes Chocolate

For those who haven't heard, the Hershey Company has announced that it will no longer be producing Milk Chocolate. They have made the decision to replace cocoa butter in their products with vegetable oil and chocolate flavorings in order to save money. FDA regulations say that nothing sold as Milk Chocolate can contain vegetable oil, therefore Hershey is removing Milk Chocolate from its labels. I love Milk Chocolate and even eat the Hershey stuff, but I'm not going to be buying it again if they make it gross like those cheapy brands that my grandma likes to buy.

And So It Begins…Again…

I’m currently sitting in the classroom waiting for my second class to start and am now bored. So in the unlikely event that this post is read, and the unlikelier event that someone is interested, there it is. IT Management should be an interesting class from what I’ve gathered from our only class so far, and I hope my other classes are at least as interesting. That is all for the time being.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pence Opposes Bush Administration Bailout Plan

Representative Mike Pence is nearly alone from what I’ve heard in his opposition to the massive giveaway to failing companies. Here’s what he has to say:

“Our financial markets are in turmoil and the Administration was right to call for decisive action to prevent further harm to our economy but nationalizing every bad mortgage in America is not the answer.

“The Administration’s request amounts to the largest corporate bailout in American history. Congress should act, but should act in a way that protects the integrity of our free market and protects the American taxpayer from more debt and higher taxes.
“To have the freedom to succeed, we must preserve the freedom to fail. Any solution to our present crisis must preserve our essential economic freedom.

“Congress should delay consideration of any legislation until the facts and competing solutions can be fully debated, consider alternatives to massive government spending and figure out how to pay for the solution through budget cuts and reform instead of more debt or taxes.

“Congress must not hastily embrace a cure that may do more harm to our economy than the disease of bad debt

“Before any bailout is enacted, Congress must set itself on an unalterable path to truly overhaul these Government Sponsored Enterprises from the top down and hold those accountable, in and out of government, who drove them, and our financial sector, to the brink of bankruptcy. Some important work is already underway, but additional reforms are needed. Even now, we read that the Treasury Department is using Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase many of these bad mortgages while it seeks the authority to purchase them all. Congress should also ensure that these GSEs can no longer pose a systemic risk to the entire economy while placing them on a brisk schedule to be fully private companies with no guarantee of taxpayer support in times of trouble. And Congress should immediately repeal the Affordable Housing Fund, which will actually siphon off capital from these under-capitalized entities, in order to fund left-wing, third party organizations.

“Next, Congress must consider all available options to put our nation’s economy back on its feet. There are no easy answers but there are alternatives to massive government spending.

“Indexing the Capital Gains tax to inflation (which the Treasury Department can do without any help from Congress), or suspending it for one year, would release an enormous amount of capitol into our economy. Passing an energy bill that lessens the price of gasoline at the pump through more domestic drilling, wind, solar, nuclear and conservation would bring relief to family budgets and create American jobs. Establishing an entitlement reform commission to develop bipartisan solutions to the crushing weight of entitlements would strengthen the American dollar.

“These and other alternatives to a massive federal bailout must be fully considered and debated before Congress acts.

“Finally, any new expenditure of taxpayer dollars should be paid for with fiscal discipline and reform. If Congress decides to spend nearly 1 trillion dollars on a corporate bailout, it must find budget savings to prevent that cost from being passed along to the American people.

“We must address this crisis with forethought, creativity and fiscal discipline. Protecting the American taxpayer from higher debt and taxes and renewing our belief in the power of the free market must be our guide.”

I hope I hear more politicians echoing his sentiments in the next days and weeks ahead.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moral of the Story, Don’t Do What the Government Says

So the government wants to spend roughly a TRILLION dollars of your and my money to bail out banks from around the world who hold too much bad mortgage debt. Why are they holding this bad debt? Because they either gave mortgages to people who could not afford to pay them back or they bought these mortgages from other banks at a discount. Why did these banks lend money to people who had no business borrowing that much money? Because the government told them to. Why did the government tell them to? Because more people owning houses is apparently more important than more people actually being able to afford to own houses.
Should the government be responsible for bailing out these huge banks? Maybe. The government is responsible for these banks issuing hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to people who should not have qualified for these loans in the first place. So in that sense the government should be responsible for fixing a problem they caused. HOWEVER, most solutions the government implements are usually worse than the problems that they created, so it could actually be better for everyone if they did nothing at all.
Listening to the random news shows on TV, many people are criticizing the proposed plan because it only helps the wealthy banking industry and leaves out the poor people who are facing foreclosure. The poor people who can’t pay the loans that they never should have received in the first place is that cause of the problem. If the government does some sort of bail out of these people I hope that there are riots in every street of the country for rewarding people for being stupid at the expense of those smart enough to not get in this situation.
Is there more to this whole situation? Probably. Ultimately it will mean that I’ll need good credit in order to get a mortgage in the next few years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reading List 2008

Here's the list of all books I recall reading so far this year. For the sake of simplicity, listening to the audio book on my Zen will count as reading. I think this is about average for me, but this is the first year in several that I've actually tried to keep track.

   George Orwell
The Amber Spyglass
   Philip Pullman
Atlas Shrugged
   Ayn Rand
Belles on Their Toes
   Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth
Cheaper by the Dozen
   Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth
   Steven D. Levitt
   Ann Coulter
The Golden Compass
   Philip Pullman
Good to Great*
   Jim Collins
Have Space Suit Will Travel
   Robert A. Heinlein
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)*
   Ann Coulter
If Democrats Had Any Brains They’d Be Republicans
   Ann Coulter
Inventing a Nation
   Gore Vidal
The Millionaire Mind
   Thomas J. Stanley
The Millionaire Next Door*
   Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
Noble Vision
   Gen LaGreca
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
   Thomas E. Woods Jr.
The Rolling Stones
   Robert A. Heinlein
The Star Beast
   Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers*
   Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land
   Robert A. Heinlein
The Subtle Knife
   Philip Pullman
What’s So Great About America
   Dinesh D’Souza
The World is Flat
   Thomas L. Friedman

* Books I've read before

Books in my stack of reading material that I'm currently reading or will be reading soon:
The ACLU vs America
   Alan Sears & Craig Osten
Built to Last
   Jim Collins & Jerry Porras
The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States
   Benjamin F. Morris
The Fountainhead
   Ayn Rand
My Job Went to India (And All I Got Was This Lousy Book)
   Chad Fowler
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress*
   Robert A. Heinlein