Comrade Warren

Ξ August 16th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Politics |

Obama Can Spread Prosperity, Fairness, Buffett Says

By Julianna Goldman

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Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Senator Barack Obama is a “leader” who can ease economic disparity while increasing prosperity, billionaire Warren Buffett said at a fund-raiser he held for the presidential hopeful last night. (I’m guessing he’s not talking about tax cuts… )

“We have abundance but we don’t have as much fairness as we might have in the system,” Buffett, 76, told attendees at the Omaha, Nebraska event. (Fairness is one of the liberal’s favorite words.  By the way Warren, how much do you need to live?  For starters, I’m thinking you could do without your private jet.  Buffett is rich enough he can afford to be a liberal.)

Buffett, who has not endorsed Obama, 46, or rival New York Senator Hillary Clinton, 59, said earlier this year that he would help either of them with their presidential campaigns if asked. He has often criticized the government for favoring the rich, repeating a charge tonight that Congress is the “tax planner” for the rich. (If Warren doesn’t feel it’s fair that he’s got so much, he’s more than free to go ahead and “donate” all his excess to the government, but please don’t volunteer to spend my money on your liberal garbage programs that only create and exacerbate society’s problems.) 

“Apparently the government in its wisdom thinks that some guy like me is like the condor or the spotted owl or something to be protected,” he said last night. “We really need to figure out some way not to fill the golden goose but actually to have abundance grow.” (Washington D.C. only knows how to kill the golden goose, squander abundance and destroy growth.  Obama and Hillary’s goal is to bring the producers and achievers down the level of the slackers and loafers.)

Obama can “lead us to the right place,” Buffett said, spreading prosperity so that it is more inclusive. (Sounds like Communism to me, Comrade Warren.)

While the Obama campaign would not say specifically how much was raised last night, around 200 people paid $500 to attend the event at the Ironwood Country Club; and about 35 people paid $2,300 each to attend a private reception with Buffett and Obama beforehand. A fund-raiser Buffett attended in New York on June 27 raised about $1 million for Clinton, her campaign said.

Buffett will hold another event for the Illinois senator this fall, though the specifics are still being determined, said Robert Gibbs, an Obama spokesman.

Obama Under Fire

Obama took several questions from the audience and spent the most amount of time answering a question about his foreign policy experience. He has come under fire from other Democratic presidential candidates who question his credentials on this subject.

“When people say they are looking for experience, what they really mean is judgment. The assumption is experience is a proxy for judgment and in some cases it is,” he said. “You assume that Warren Buffett has experience in investing and he now has better judgment than some young analyst just starting off as an investor. On the other hand, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have lots of experience, no judgment.” (If we follow Warren’s advice on government policy, we will be forming a politburo tomorrow.)

Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., built the Omaha, Nebraska-based company over four decades, transforming a failing textile manufacturer into a $168.4 billion holding company by buying out-of-favor stocks and companies. He pledged most of his fortune to charity last year.

Donor Network

Obama, who has been focusing on building a large network of donors giving small amounts, raised $33.1 million from April through the end of June, including $10.3 million from the Internet. The support of so-called netroots activists has helped him raise the most money and compile the largest overall list of donors in the field, including 110,000 who gave on the Internet.

Obama said his ability to raise more donations of $200 or less than his democratic rivals combined is something that sets him apart from the other candidates.

“I’ve been able to reach out to independents and Republicans in ways that a lot of Democrats have not had the capacity to do,” he said when he was asked why somebody should support him over Clinton.

While Obama is receiving plenty advice on his campaign, “Warren Buffett is one of those people I listen to,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julianna Goldman in Washington at jgoldman6@bloomberg.net

 

Blame the Gun

Ξ August 14th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Guns |

Published Monday August 13, 2007

Tougher gun laws go before council

BY KAREN SLOAN

WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

The Omaha City Council is being asked to support Mayor Mike Fahey’s push for stiffer local gun regulation. (Once again, blame the gun not the criminal.)

The council is expected to consider an ordinance today that makes three changes to existing gun rules. If approved later this month, those changes could take effect as soon as mid-September.

Under the proposal, the city code would be altered to allow any person of any age to be prosecuted for giving a gun to a minor. Currently, only adults can be punished for providing weapons to minors. (I’m sure this will stop gang members from stealing guns and using them in committing a crime.)

Another change would mandate that all guns used in crimes be destroyed. The city code now calls for those weapons to be confiscated but not destroyed. (Let me get this straight, if my gun is stolen by a criminal and he robs someone, the evil gun must now be destroyed so it—the gun—- can never rob again. What if my car is stolen and used to rob a bank, should it be destroyed as well so it—the car—will never rob again?)

City Prosecutor Marty Conboy said people now may ask for guns to be returned to them if another person uses their weapon in a crime. The case has to have made its way through court for the gun to be given back, he said.

Additionally, the city code would be changed to increase the penalty for second-offense minor in possession of a weapon to six months in jail. The current maximum penalty is 30 days.

Fahey announced Friday that he would ask the council to make those changes. They are part of his larger plan to stop gun violence. In addition to the city code changes, Fahey has said he wants more police in problem areas and surveillance cameras in places where violence is recurring.

The city has experienced a wave of shootings since July. Thirty-one people were shot in July; one of them, an 18-year-old, was killed. This month, an additional seven people have been wounded and one man killed in shootings. (…and not one of these additional laws would have prevented these killings.)

The changes to the gun ordinance are expected to come up for a public hearing at the council meeting Aug. 21, and they could be approved Aug. 28. If that happens, the changes would go into effect Sept. 12.

The proposed changes were drafted by City Attorney Paul Kratz at Fahey’s request.

“We wanted to get this on the agenda as soon as possible,” said Fahey’s chief of staff, Paul Landow. “I can’t imagine there would be any members on the council who won’t support it.”

Councilman Franklin Thompson said Friday that he had some questions about the changes Fahey called for. Thompson said Monday he wanted to further investigate the planned changes, but said he would probably support them.

“I’m leaning toward supporting the mayor on this,” Thompson said.

Councilman Chuck Sigerson said he generally supports Fahey’s proposals to help stop the shootings but said he will closely scrutinize the city code changes to ensure they don’t encroach on the rights of legal gun owners.

“I want to make sure we are going after the guns and the people that need to be gone after,” Sigerson said. (Hey Chuck,

Councilman Jim Vokal said he will support the changes, while Councilman Garry Gernandt says he is leaning in that direction. 

(Bottom line with stupid politicians, “we’ve got to do something” even if their “solution” is totally ludicrous and doesn’t address the problem of unbridled crime and gangs running the streets.)

“We’ve got to do something,” Gernandt said. “If there are loopholes that need to be closed, then we should close them.” (Why don’t you ride a unicycle and juggle bowling pins, that’ll do  just as much good!)

 

Walking Bad for the Planet

Ξ August 7th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Global Warming Myth |

Walking to the shops ‘damages planet more than going by car’

Dominic Kennedy

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. (I knew it!) The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby (That goes without saying).

The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. “Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere,” he said, a calculation based on the Government’s official fuel emission figures. “If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You’d need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.

“The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere (Don’t forget, what’s good for you is bad for the planet). Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”

Mr Goodall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, is the latest serious thinker (Yeah, right!) to turn popular myths about the environment on their head.

Catching a diesel train is now twice as polluting as traveling by car for an average family, the Rail Safety and Standards Board admitted recently. Paper bags are worse for the environment than plastic because of the extra energy needed to manufacture and transport them, the Government says. (I knew that too.)

Fresh research published in New Scientistlast month suggested that 1kg of meat cost the Earth 36kg in global warming gases. The figure was based on Japanese methods of industrial beef production but Mr Goodall says that farming techniques are similar throughout the West.

What if, instead of beef, the walker drank a glass of milk? The average person would need to drink 420ml – three quarters of a pint – to recover the calories used in the walk. Modern dairy farming emits the equivalent of 1.2kg of CO2 to produce the milk, still more pollution than the car journey.

Cattle farming is notorious for its perceived damage to the environment, based on what scientists politely call “methane production” (impolitely called farting) from cows. The gas, released during the digestive process, is 21 times more harmful than CO2 (I thought CO2 was food for plants…???). Organic beef is the most damaging because organic cattle emit more methane. (I know organic food gives me more gas.)

Michael O’Leary, boss of the budget airline Ryanair, has been widely derided after he was reported to have said that global warming could be solved by massacring the world’s cattle. “The way he is running around telling people they should shoot cows,” Lawrence Hunt, head of Silverjet, another budget airline, told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee. “I do not think you can really have debates with somebody with that mentality.” (Yeah, we don’t want to make India or McDonalds mad.)

But according to Mr Goodall, Mr O’Leary may have a point. “Food is more important [to Britain’s greenhouse emissions] than aircraft but there is no publicity,” he said. “Associated British Foods isn’t being questioned by MPs about energy.

“We need to become accustomed to the idea that our food production systems are equally damaging. As the man from Ryanair says, cows generate more emissions than aircraft. Unfortunately, perhaps, he is right. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should always choose to use air or car travel instead of walking. It means we need urgently to work out how to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our foodstuffs.”

Simply cutting out beef, or even meat, however, would be too modest a change. The food industry is estimated to be responsible for a sixth of an individual’s carbon emissions, and Britain may be the worst culprit.

“This is not just about flying your beans from Kenya in the winter,” Mr Goodall said. “The whole system is stuffed with energy and nitrous oxide emissions. The UK is probably the worst country in the world for this.

“We have industrialized our food production. We use an enormous amount of processed food, like ready meals, compared to most countries. Three quarters of supermarkets’ energy is to refrigerate and freeze food prepared elsewhere. (I’m sure letting food spoil is the preferable option.)

A chilled ready meal is a perfect example of where the energy is wasted. You make the meal, then use an enormous amount of energy to chill it and keep it chilled through warehousing and storage.”

The ideal diet would consist of cereals and pulses. “This is a route which virtually nobody, apart from a vegan, (the only humans worthy of living on mother earth are vegans, and even they should feel guilty for soiling her surface) is going to follow,” Mr Goodall said. But there are other ways to reduce the carbon footprint. “Don’t buy anything from the supermarket,” Mr Goodall said, “or anything that’s traveled too far.” (Better yet, don’t eat at all so we can reduce the infestation of humans upon Gaea)

dkennedy@thetimes.co.uk