Friday, August 8, 2008

Obama and Oil from WSJ

“The ‘windfall profits’ tax is back, with Barack Obama stumping again to apply it to a handful of big oil companies. Which raises a few questions: What is a ‘windfall’ profit anyway? How does it differ from your everyday, run of the mill profit? Is it some absolute number, a matter of return on equity or sales—or does it merely depend on who earns it? Enquiring entrepreneurs want to know. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama’s ‘emergency’ plan, announced on Friday, doesn’t offer any clarity. To pay for ‘stimulus’ checks of $1,000 for families and $500 for individuals, the Senator says government would take ‘a reasonable share’ of oil company profits. Mr. Obama didn’t bother to define ‘reasonable’... This extraordinary redefinition of free-market success could use some parsing. Take Exxon Mobil, which on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profit ever and is the main target of any ‘windfall’ tax surcharge. Yet if its profits are at record highs, its tax bills are already at record highs too. Between 2003 and 2007, Exxon paid $64.7 billion in U.S. taxes, exceeding its after-tax U.S. earnings by more than $19 billion. That sounds like a government windfall to us, but perhaps we’re missing some... business subtlety. Maybe [Obama has] in mind profit margins as a percentage of sales. Yet by that standard Exxon’s profits don’t seem so large. Exxon’s profit margin stood at 10% for 2007, which is hardly out of line with the oil and gas industry average of 8.3%, or the 8.9% for U.S. manufacturing (excluding the sputtering auto makers). If that’s what constitutes windfall profits, most of corporate America would qualify... The fun part about this game is anyone can play. Jim Johnson, formerly of Fannie Mae and formerly a political fixer for Mr. Obama, reaped a windfall before Fannie’s multibillion-dollar accounting scandal. Bill Clinton took down as much as $15 million working as a rainmaker for billionaire financier Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies. This may be the very definition of ‘windfall.’... The point is that what constitutes an abnormal profit is entirely arbitrary. It is in the eye of the political beholder, who is usually looking to soak some unpopular business. In other words, a windfall is nothing more than a profit earned by a business that some politician dislikes. And a tax on that profit is merely a form of politically motivated expropriation. It’s what politicians do in Venezuela, not in a free country.” —The Wall Street Journal

Well said by the WSJ. Well said.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's August Already!

It's August already! This summer and year seems to be just flying by at a faster and faster rate! My goodness, especially the summer! It has just flown by. We are even going to get a taste of fall temperature wise this weekend. It will be fall before we know it!

Things have been a little so-so lately. A couple of days last week were just downright rough! I spent pretty much the end of the week in tears. But, the Lord has seen me through the rough patches and I am still moving forward!

First, an ankle update. It is healing nicely. The scrapes and scratches are healing over and will leave nice scars. The bruises are slowly fading. I no longer need to wrap it in an ace bandage. It does still swell from time to time (especially since I am back at full workout mode). So, I ice it when it needs it and I imagine I won't be wearing heels for a while yet, but it's getting there.

The workouts are more intense. I am up to walking 2 miles each workout day (yesterday was my first day at that and man I was sore this morning!), at 15 reps with 5lb weights, at 25 reps on crunches, squats and calf-stretches (up to tippy-toes and back to full feet on the floor) and have added the back exercises my friend sent to me. All of that takes a full hour or a shade more to do now. Most of that is the walking. Yesterday the 2 miles took me 32 minutes. That should get better with time. You should have seen me trying to do those back exercises on that exercise ball! It was quite humorous! It will take me a bit to get in the groove on those, I am sure.

I have applied to five places for a part-time job and haven't heard a peep from any of them. It's tough out there, I know that. Even the city is laying people off. I have another application to drop off tomorrow. I have some hope for this one. It's at a restaurant that I have worked at before (although its been a very long time) and it's close to the house here, so that would be nice. We'll see what happens.

I did get a bit discouraged last Friday about looking for a job. I had, what I was led to believe, an interview for an actual paying job with a campaign (not the one I have been volunteering for). When I got there, I found that I had been misled and there was no paying job, they just wanted volunteers. I had to say to this person, in front of other people, that he led me to believe that I was interviewing for a paying job and that's what I needed right now, not to do more volunteer work. So, I left. I was mad at first and then later, just felt awful. Felt like an idiot and a failure. But, it was a good learning experience. Other people that I had told about this (parents etc) said that what the guy had said would make them think they were going for a regular job interview also. That helped.

I have been having terrible hot flashes the past two weeks. Ugh. I am due for my progesterone shot this Friday and I don't think I am making much estrogen anymore and the flashes are hot and furious! And awful! I've had showers in the past two weeks where I was actually sweating in the shower! I sweat so much and feel and look flushed so much lately, its almost embarrassing. I have suspected for a while that I am in early menopause for some time, but all of this and the complete lack of other things, has seemed to confirm that. If these hot flashes keep up at this pace, I will have my regular doc do a hormone blood test to see whats up and not wait til my regular female doc check-up in February. Whew! I need my own internal air conditioner at times!

I got registered for fall quarter classes at school. I am taking a math class, poly sci and cultural diversity. It's 14 credit hours, which is a lot, but the actual schedule is not that bad. I am basically repeating my freshman year of college this year. Capital (where I will actually get my degree from) is requesting that I take what I am taking this year. It's 9 classes, which comes out to 3 a quarter. I am hoping to be able to keep the same basic schedule all year, even though the classes will be different. They are saying my freshman work is too old for them to accept. No big deal, it will be a good refresher course for everything. I am looking forward to getting back into school and getting my degree finished, finally!

Our Beth Moore study ends next week! I am going to miss it. It has been an eye opening experience for me and I have learned a lot. I also feel that my relationship with God has gotten closer, which is good. But, I am going to miss doing this study and meeting with the ladies in our small group. It has been an awesome experience and I urge any ladies out there who have the opportunity to participate in a Beth Moore study, to do so. Your life will be better for it!

The car situation is not the best. It was found that I have/had an oil leak and a transmission fluid leak. Nice huh? There was not much that could be done about those things. The hubby did tighten some things up for me and do a few other things. But, basically, the thing is dying a slow, painful death. Just nice. So, I am hoping to find a job (soon!!) and start saving some money. Hopefully I can nurse the car along til Christmas break at school. Then I will take what money I have saved and the car to my Pops' car guy in Kentucky and trade it in on something else. That's the plan anyways. I am praying it will last that long. (I have also applied to work at the polls on election day and will use what I get paid from that, if it works out, to my down payment savings.) So, we'll see what happens.

My new nephew has not arrived yet, which has surprised everyone! We all thought he would be here by now. However, his mom is having contractions that are getting stronger, so maybe yet this week, we hope! His mommy is very uncomfortable and would love for him to be born sooner rather than later I am sure! Please keep them both in your prayers.

Well, I guess that's it for this time. Pray for me as I continue to look for a part-time job and as I get ready for going back to college. I hope that ya'll are enjoying your summer as we have arrived at the traditional last month of the season. Anybody who's going to the beach, think of me while you're there! I miss living near the ocean so much!

Love ya'll and God Bless!