Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Blank Check Concept with Grizzly Bears

Years ago….the US started a nifty concept….called the Endangered Species Act (1975). Basically, once your critter got on the list….they were not to be hunted, under any circumstances. This was to help the population of that critter recover.

Now, the neat thing about the Endangered Species Act….was that no ever put a number up….to say that things were now fine with one species. That meant that one day….some idiot would come up and say there were enough, and you….as the friendly environmentalist….would challenge them in court. You’d naturally win, and the critter would remain as an endangered species.

Over the past three decades, something has occurred that the environmentalist would never have forecasted….the grizzly bear population of America has boomed.

In fact, we’ve now reacted a point where the grizzly bear exists not only around Alaska and Canada in sufficient numbers….but we’ve got plenty of grizzly bears in Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and Idaho. In fact….there are some oddball characters talking of grizzly bears reaching down into Oregon, California, and possibly Colorado within the next decade.

Course, this all starts a mind to pondering. If by 2020, there are grizzly bears down in California, and maybe into Colorado….then what happens by 2030? Maybe even some grizzly bears appearing in Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Michigan, and maybe even Missouri? And 2040? Well….yeah….Bama might actually have a grizzly bear or two seen by 2040, unless something happens.

We come to this question…..when is it enough….that you remove the critter from the Endangered Species Act? The Bush Administration tried in 2007….to take the grizzly off the list, and a court action by some environmentalists fixed that problem…..putting the poor grizzly back on the endangered list.

So now, a guy would ponder upon this….when will there be enough grizzly bears? Some folks out in western Wyoming, around Yellowstone, now estimate there are a minimum of 500 grizzly bears in the local area. That population would likely double by 2020, if the trend continues. You can imagine this scene where some family is out on some camping trip in a RV….out of fuel….suddenly finding a dozen grizzly bears sitting around the RV area.

Grizzly bears in Bama? Well….it’s not a natural creature to the local area. I can imagine a standing there in shock when he opens the backdoor of the house to find a grizzly sleeping on the porch.

The truth is…..once you start a stupid list where a critter gets himself all protected….there ought to be this magic number of “enough”. Some idiot in 1975 should have mentioned that as they were writing this law. But I’m guessing they were just simple idiot Congressmen or Senators….never knowing anything about law and its implications.

The Wind Blows Mostly from Spain

Years ago, I vacationed in Spain….off on one of the islands that make up the Canary Islands. It’s kinda like the Hawaiian Islands….tropical in nature, lots of tourists, booze flowing continually, and a fun atmosphere.

Over the two weeks I was there, I noted on various brochures….this wonderful opportunity to buy a seaside house. These were all small places with 30 x 40 foot yard in the back (almost nothing), a two-bedroom situation for living, and enough parking for one really small car. The gimmick here….was to attract British and Germans into spending roughly $120k (which would be financed through the local Spanish bank).

A guy from Bama would look at a house like this, and likely come to the conclusion that it was barely worth $50k at the most. Cheaply made….it wasn’t a place that would last more than thirty years max. Even a house trailer would have been a better deal.

Up the street….was the better places….for $200k and they had a small pool, and maybe a 100 x 300 foot backyard. Again, it was all enticing for someone to vacation there, enjoy the summer heat, and the flowing nature of the Spanish wine and booze. A guy could have a pretty good time in retirement with a deal like this.

So plenty of folks came and got mortgages through the local banks or cajas. Well….kinda like Tucson and Florida houses….this Spanish market has crashed. If you read through the local business papers….Spain is coming up next behind Greece. Almost every Spanish bank is in dire straits. They have tons of property that have been dumped back onto them…..with no one interested in buying the property with higher down-payments.

With the best guess of thirty to forty percent cuts on property value…..there’s good deal sitting there. But they will be sitting there a long time.

What happens now? Well….this becomes interesting. Greece had some really special problems, with major corruption driving its government finance situation. Spain? Totally different, with banks needing a massive hand of assistance…..likely going well beyond what a government could handle. The banks could write off the properties they hold…..but they’d revalue the whole system, and collapse would be necessary in some cases.

So over the next two months….as you sit and watch the poor CNN and ABC folks….never able to explain how this all started……you kinda know how it began now. There were some mighty fine little retirement communities along the coastline, which would entice any guy…..but these folks just never had adequate money to pay for what they bought. And now, the bank holds some mighty fine little retirement communities along the Spanish coast, without any hope of dumping them.

Just Observations

This character, Ed Schultz, on MSNBC....came out last night and observed on the polling data in Wisconsin's state election....that a significant number of union members voted for the Republicans.  He felt that they ought to stick with the union plan.  I took a moment to laugh over this commentary.  After you build up this magnificent system where folks are forced into a union....then you get this funny idea that the union can dictate how you vote?  You can see some pretty naive thinking here within the media, and just how bad things have gotten.

Tuesday evening here in the DC area....we had the head of the city council come on, and say he just wasn't going to resign.  Amusingly enough....half the folks in DC had no idea what the heck he was talking about because there just wasn't any information out there on impending charges or such against him.  Then twenty-four hours pass, and on Wednesday evening....the head of the city council resigns from his office.  Naturally, there are questions now....about what the federal prosecutor dug up on the guy.  It appears that he went for a bank loan, and made them believe he was a good bit more than what he actually made.  So, it's a bank fraud case.  Typically, it's not much of a deal, and you pay a fine for lying to a bank official.  The comical side of this bank fraud?  This guy makes up fake documents to a huge income (which wasn't true)....then he refinances his home to a better percentage rate.....then he turns around with the new excess money that he has.....and buys a fine four-star boat.  The strange thing is that the bank rushed in pretty quickly....accepting everything without question, which almost makes you think that they were in on the deal.  The boat purchase was quickly fixed up.  So a guy is sunk.....over a boat.  Makes a pretty good story for a ethics class.

It won't make national news.....but out at a Army post in Louisiana about three weeks ago....they had a lesbian wedding on the the military chapel.  Because of the new regulations for the military....there's nothing wrong with this.  However, Louisiana state officials have found out about this, and wondering how exactly it can be legal....if the state of Louisiana does not recognize such marriages.  Normally, a base observes almost every rule that local state has (drinking age, driving rules, etc).  I would imagine this will be eventually brought up in Congress, and someone will have to make a bunch of new laws (on top of the 200k pages of federal laws already in place).

The administration finally put out around $33 million in bounties for various Jihad guys in Somalia.  It should be hasn't indicated dead or alive.  I'm pretty sure that some news guy will bring this up eventually.  The sad truth is that in Somalia.....a bounty of $200k on one single guy would draw a lot of attention.  You'd have forty or fifty guys trying to get in on this deal quickly.  I'm not saying that the administration suddenly came up with a great idea....but this is the best I've seen in two years.  Sadly, this is ten percent of what we sunk into that failed solar energy company in California.