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Cash for Clunkers

It’s always fun to play “guess the unintended consequences” whenever some new idiocy from Washington D.C. surfaces. The Cash for Clunkers program (CFC) will give between 3500 and 4500 dollars for cars with certain conditions (like low gas mileage) when they are traded in for new cars with better gas mileage.

Some think it’s a stupid idea, I agree.

But since the program is going through it’s important to note what problems it will cause. Here are my predictions as the program evolves:

1) A great number of cars not being used regularly will be turned in for the money. These are tertiary vehicles for people who rarely use them and taking them off the street will do no good since they are, well, rarely used.

2) Poor people will try to profit on their cars. People who drive older used cars with low gas mileage typically aren’t in the market for a new car. But, people buying new cars will want to get the full $4500 trade in value and will start buying these cars from those poorer people who need money more than a car. Prices for these cars will balance where both parties profit from the sale.

3) Poor people who need a car but who can’t afford a new car will have a more difficult time finding a vehicle. The so-called “clunkers” being turned in are usable cars and an important part of the economy. Where a teenager on a fixed income could count on a vehicle in the $1000-$2000 range, now will be paying double (if he can find a car at all).

4) As the program progresses there will be a shortage of low cost, high maintenance and/or high mileage vehicles. The working poor will be hardest hit by this, being forced to spend money on more expensive newer cars or being forced to waste hours of their lives on public transportation (rather than with their families or at second jobs).

5) The shortage of “clunkers” will eventually raise the price of these vehicles above the $4,500 subsidy. Older, high mileage vehicles will no longer be traded in because they have more value to those who need to drive used cars because they can’t afford new cars.

6) Remaining clunkers will not be taken off the streets. There will be fewer cars available to the poor and they will pay more for them. Democrats will take credit for saving the environment even though the program will have no measurable impact on anything.

7) Those of us who held unto our clunkers will enjoy a sizable ROI thanks to raising prices caused by the program.

The consequences of this bill are a mixture of subsidy and price floors and it will be fun to see how many people end being hurt by this. But hey, it’s all to reduce CO2 emissions by .000001% over the next decade and save ourselves .0001 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.


Twins Predictions

Fearless predictions for the final half of the Twins season:

-Kevin Slowey will not get 20 wins.

-Scott Baker will win 8 more games

-R.A. Dickey’s ERA will stay below 4.00

-Justin Morneau won’t hit more than 30 home runs

-Joe Mauer will not hit .400, or even .390, but he will hit 25 home runs

-Joe Crede will miss 20 more games

-Delmon Young’s OPS will slip above .700

-Matt Tolbert, Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla will have a combined OPS nearly equal to that of national league pitchers in the second half.

-Danny Valencia will don a Twins Uniform before the end of the year.

-Trevor Plouffe will start at least 10 games for the Twins

-Jason Kubel will have the third highest OPS on the team

-Joe Nathan will blow 4 more saves

-Carlos Gomez will start less than half the remaining games after the All Star break in Center Field

Buckley v. Baldwin

William F. Buckley debated James Baldwin at Cambridge over the issue of race, Enjoy. It’s about an hour.

Buckley’s warning against “The cynicism and despair” promoted by men like James Baldwin really rings true today.

Personal Update

I finished up my global leadership class in the MBA program, and assuming I get at least a 60% on my final paper I am more than halfway through the program. I have just about three weeks before I begin a summer term (they call it “early fall term”) and I was hoping to spend it on some big projects that have been put on hiatus.

While I have a lot of ideas about blog posts and baseball columns, these bigger projects (including the second half of my Rats story) are the only things keeping me near a computer. Also, there are a lot of household chores to get done. Plus the job. So, enjoy the summer. I’ll still post periodically.


They’re brainwashed of course

Where’s the bias?

People Choose News That Fits Their Views

News readers gorge on media messages that fit their pre-existing views, rather than graze on a wider range of perspectives. In other words, they consume what they agree with, researchers say.

The finding comes out of a recent study which tracked how college students spent their time reading media articles on hot-button issues such as abortion or gun ownership.

Unsurprisingly, students gravitated toward articles that supported their views.

Fairly straight forward. People seek out those things that re-enforce their own beliefs, what could possibly be biased about this article?

People with stronger party affiliation, conservative political views, and greater interest in politics proved more likely to click on articles with opposing views, according to the Ohio State study.

“It appears that people with these characteristics are more confident in their views and so they’re more inclined to at least take a quick look at the counterarguments,” Knobloch-Westerwick noted.

Oh yes, of course. Conservatives read both sides only because they’ve been so brainwashed they couldn’t possibly be open minded or thoughtful. They’re just stupid conservatives who can’t understand brilliance when they see it.

However, Knobloch-Westerwick added that her latest study was not designed to assess reader motives, and that she hopes to more carefully study the issue in the future.

D’oh. Didn’t have the numbers to fudge those conclusions, so you just made some stuff up. Good call.

It’s hard to seperate the bias of the reporter from the bias of the study authors, but you get the point. I’ve exaggerated the completely made up conclusions about conservatives, not much though.

Maybe journalists need consciousness raising excercises to discover the true nature of their society.

Dump Delmon Young?

The case against Delmon Young is strong. In about 1500 plate appearances in the majors he has about a 720 OPS (below average, and especially bad for a flank outfielder) and has a terrible glove.

The case for Delmon Young is more complex. An 880 OPS in the minors before he was old enough to drink and his current age being only 23 suggest he has potential upside. In fact, here are the similar batters to Delmon Young through age 22:

Rocco Baldelli (961)
Carl Yastrzemski (960) *
Del Ennis (953)
Whitey Lockman (951)
Carl Crawford (948)
Roberto Clemente (946) *
Jose Guillen (945)
Buttercup Dickerson (945)
Clint Hurdle (944)
Hugh Duffy (939) *

Interesting mix. Rocco is unimpressive, but Yaz is very very impressive. And Clint Hurdle? That’s just horrible.

Considering all the information available, Delmon Young skeptics are being too skeptical. Of course, friends who gush about Delmon Young being the future of the franchise (and there are several) are probably in for a terrible surprise. It’s too late to try to trade Delmon Young, other teams won’t be buying. The best option is to hold onto him. For now.

Burger Tour Request

To all the lovers of burgers in the Twin Cities, I need some help.

I need more burger places. I also need to hear about burger places currently on the tour that have closed down. See, I want to produce another edition of the burger tour sometime before election season in 2010.

So, I have made the entire burger tour available online for free. You can download a copy of the book or read the entire thing in the “preview” window. Also, the price of a hard copy of the book is now set at the manufacturing cost to make it as low as possible.

From the Notebook

-Read “Dogs” by Wendy Boorer. It’s a reference book with brief descriptions of every recognized dog breed (as of 1980). Surprisingly well written. The author had a wonderful control of language. I’d been paging through this book my entire life, so I’d probably already read it. But it was worth reading cover to cover. I never write about it, but I am a dog lover. The book is long out of print, so good luck finding a copy. But if you do, enjoy.

-My new Facebook user name is marty.andrade. So, if you want, you can visit http://www.facebook.com/marty.andrade add me as a friend and read all the superfluous crap I put on my facebook page.

-If you ever want to learn how not to putt, watch Robert Allenby play a round of golf. It’s already improved my putting.

-Saw “Drag me to Hell” over the weekend. What a great thriller/horror (from the guy who did the “Evil Dead” films). I thought it was fun, with some ridiculous scenarios (I now have to rethink how I store my anvils). It was very inventive, and yeah, some scary stuff too. My friend Ben Wetmore expands on the scary. What I love most about the film is the strict adherence to horror film morality. When the protaganist asks herself what person deserves to be dragged to Hell, the audience knows the answer.

-Finished the short story “The Speckled Band” by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, a Sherlock Holmes adventure. Read it through DailyLit.com. Fun stuff, I hope to read more Sherlock Holmes stories (never read one before).

-Was just at a friend’s wedding this weekend and realized some 75% of the people I would describe as “friends” are married and about half of them have kids or are expecting. I wonder what the odds are I’ll be the last bachelor among them (pretty good would be my bet).

-I have a ten page paper to write this week, plus a shorter two page paper and I need to put the finishing touches on yet another paper. So, I’ll be busy. Expect light posting. Of course, half the time all the computer time involved in writing papers leads me to more posting. So, expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed.

Wednesday Hero

Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc A. LeeAviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee
28 years old from Hood River, Oregon
August 2, 2006
U.S. Navy

“Marc was amazing. He was my best friend, my love,” his widow, Maya, said.

Petty Officer Marc A. Lee joined the Navy in 2001 and became an AO after completing Naval Air Technical Training. Later that year he attempted to complete the grueling BUD/S program but caught pneumonia and had to drop out. He tried again in 2004 and completed the course.

On August 2, 2006, Marc A. Lee became the first SEAL to be killed in combat in Iraq when he was fatally wounded in a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq. The following is from the award citation:

“During the operation, one element member was wounded by enemy fire. The element completed the casualty evacuation, regrouped and returned onto the battlefield to continue the fight. Petty Officer Lee and his SEAL element maneuvered to assault an unidentified enemy position. He, his teammates, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks engaged enemy positions with suppressive fire from an adjacent building to the north.

“To protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of fire saved the lives of many of his teammates”

“It was so like Marc to give up his life to save his friends,” his mother, Debbie Lee, told the Hood River News. “I am so proud of him. He is my hero.”

Petty Officer Lee was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star with combat “V” for his actions in Iraq during his team’s combat tour and the Purple Heart medal.

All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

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