Powder Blue Report

News, finance, politics, sports, and fun from the west coast

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Made It To Minneapolis

Advice on taking a redeye flight...don't do it. I hated it. I left LAX last night and got into Minneapolis/St. Paul at 6 am this morning. I've just awakened from trying to catch up on some sleep, but I still feel fatigued. Oh well, I'm gonna rally tonight and head downtown to see what's happening around the city. The "Ronulans" have invaded the city from all things I have seen so far. The Northwest flight out of LAX was packed with em and my hotel out in Brooklyn Center is full of us. I get the feeling that Tuesday is gonna be a huge showing at the Target Center. I've never been to a National GOP Convention so I am looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere is gonna be like. The word is filtering through the Ron Paul community and from some news reports that St. Paul/Minneapolis is a defacto police state right now with numerous arrests and raids of protesters and where they are staying. That's to bad. It's one thing if these guys are genuinely breaking the law, but I get the sense that the word has gone out by team McCain to squelch any kind of protest that may be going on or is set to happen. Here's a link to Glenn Greenwald about the police raids.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain VP Speculation

As if McCain himself wasn't a bad enough nominee for the GOP, now the word is he is seriously thinking of tapping his good Democratic Senator buddy Joe Lieberman for Vice President...on the Republican ticket! What...was Barbara Boxer unavailable? This is unbelievable. If he picks Lieberman, say goodbye to any chance of consolidating the conservative/libertarian base of the party. Say goodbye to any chance of getting volunteers to man phone banks, walk precincts, etc. Why would any Republican wanna volunteer for this potential ticket? It makes no sense at all, but then again it makes all the sense in the world. McCain has been very good at sabotaging the party the last few years in the Senate. He might as well take it all the way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OC Register Interview

I spoke with Martin Wisckol of the OC Register the other for a story he's doing on Ron Paul's big Rally For The Republic event in Minneapolis September 2nd. They even sent along a staff photog to my office to take a few pics of me. Look for the story to run in Friday's paper.

******************Thursday 8/21/08 UPDATE*******************

The article is up on the Register's website. Click here

The Eagle Has Been Grounded

An article in today's Wall Street Journal covers the US Mint's suspension of selling gold & silver eagle coins because they have run out of supply! It was only a matter of time. When the prices get pushed down artificially to low, basic economics take over. A lot of people including yours truly have been buying physical gold & silver bullion on major dips. This has in turn cleaned out the available retail supply of physical bullion for the time being. The only thing that will cure this shortage is higher prices. Here's a portion of the WSJ piece...
As gold prices tumbled from their highest level ever, investors and collectors loaded up on one-ounce "American eagle" gold-bullion coins. The buying spree came to an abrupt halt this week after the U.S. Mint stopped selling the coins for the first time since production began 20 years ago.

"Due to the unprecedented demand ... our inventories have been depleted," the Mint -- part of the U.S. Treasury Department -- told its dealers Friday. "We are therefore temporarily suspending all sales of these coins."

The move shocked sellers and collectors of the coins, which are the most widely traded in the U.S. Suppliers became angry as they turned away customers. Theories about the decision's underlying cause ran rampant -- from investors in gold futures to Russia's invasion of Georgia.

"This whole thing started about the time the Ruskies made their move," a collector noted in an Internet chat room called goldismoney.info. "It may very well be that the USGovt is preparing for the real financial meltdown by hoarding all remaining gold flows."

The Mint says it simply was wiped out. It has sold 311,000 ounces of the coins this year -- about 50% more than in all of 2007. In the first few weeks of August alone, buyers snapped up 63,500 ounces.

"We are working diligently to build up our inventory and hope to resume sales shortly," the Mint wrote in a memo to dealers.

The American-eagle bullion program was launched in 1986 with the sale of gold and silver bullion coins. One-ounce coins have a face value of $50 and $1, respectively, although the coins trade close to the market value of the underlying metal. After the 2008 silver coins, known as silver eagles, surged in popularity earlier this year as silver prices rose, the Mint began rationing them.

Dealers were upset by the latest blow. "If I don't have something to sell, I lose business," says Rand LeShay of A-Mark Precious Metals, a Los Angeles dealer.

The Mint announced the suspension Friday, the day prices of gold-futures contracts -- bets on what gold will cost later -- finished below $800 an ounce for the first time this year. The drop accelerated a buying spree among investors. Gold began bouncing back and late Wednesday traded at $810.30. In March, gold futures hit a high of $1,003.20 an ounce.

American-eagle gold-bullion coins are made from 22-karat gold mined in the U.S. The front side's design was inspired by August Saint-Gaudens' $20 gold piece, minted from 1907 to 1933. On the reverse side is a nest of American eagles.

The coins are sold by the Mint to 10 dealers world-wide for a premium above the price of gold. These dealers resell the coins, which now fetch about $815.

The American Precious Metals Exchange, an online gold dealer, posted an alert about the Mint's move, generating confused and angry responses. Many customers said they were mystified because the silver-coin rationing followed a price surge, while the gold suspension followed a drop.

"The situation is strange and doesn't fit the 'normal' supply & demand economic model," the firm wrote to customers.

The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, an advocacy group, said the Mint's move proved financial institutions are colluding to set prices.

"The suspension is overwhelming evidence ... that the commodities exchanges are being used ... as part of a massive scheme of manipulation of the precious metals, currency, and bond markets," the group wrote on its Web site.

It's Official...Arnold Is Now Worse Than Gray Davis

You really gotta hand it to our governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's a great actor. His whole tenure as governor has been one big acting job. His final act of transformation is his proposal to raise the state sales tax by 14%...something he said he would never do. What suckers we are. I blame myself for not voting Tom McClintock in the recall. In our fervor to recall Gray Davis, we fell for the guy that was "electable" but had no track record of being who he said he was, namely a fiscally conservative Republican. We know now that he is a liar. It was his "no new taxes" pledge that got reluctant conservatives to vote for him. He was going to be a backstop/goalie when the liberal legislature wanted to raise taxes. Now he has become an enabler. The California Republican Party needs to take a stand on this governor at the upcoming fall state convention. If we become a party that tolerates tax increases because the politicians failed in their duties, than we have no reason for such existence as a party.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cost Of Great Park Balloons(no pun intended) By $377 Million

An independent audit of the projected cost to build the (not so)Great Park has found that the city has underestimated the cost by over $377 million dollars! My first comment about this...is anyone really surprised by this? Here's the LA Times story from this morning. This council majority is hellbent on building this thing no matter what the cost is to the Irvine taxpayers. To say they have bitten off more than they can chew would be an understatement. It's funny to read quote's from our clueless Mayor Beth Krom say that
"We are talking about converting a military base into a great metropolitan park," she said. "That's an extraordinary restoration project, and the notion that there are any absolute numbers that would be unchangeable in the evolution of this project is sort of absurd."
She also said that this was "an internal document" and
"that bringing it before the Board for public discussion was “an insult to the process.”
Yeah, how insulting of us to talk about this majority's incompetence Madam Mayor and question your ridiculous policies. No wonder Larry is desperately trying to pass his Secrecy Ordinance...Measure "S"ecrecy. They might want to rename their slate this November from "Keep Irvine Great" to "Keep Irvine In A Sea Of Red Ink"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Irvine Secrecy Measure Assigned Letter "S"

Sometimes in politics, it's the luck of the draw. The council majority in Irvine muscled through a ballot measure this November that claims to protect privacy, but it's real intention is to shield from the public information that is protected by the California Public Records Law. So the Measure is now named Measure S...as in Measure "S" for secrecy. I'm not a genius political consultant, I just play one on the internet sometimes. My slogan will be...Vote NO on "S"ecrecy.

I signed onto the argument against Measure S along with Stephen Smith and Jeffrey Lalloway. It reads like this:
Argument Against Measure S, named
"City of Irvine Personal Information Privacy Act"

This proposal should have been named the SECRECY ORDINANCE. It's crafted so that Irvine elected officials can deny you access to documents guaranteed public scrutiny by the California Public Records Act. VOTE NO TO ASSURE OPEN, HONEST AND TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT AT CITY HALL.

Councilman Larry Agran proposed this Secrecy Ordinance after newspapers reported that he tried to hire a longtime friend from Chicago to be the new CEO at the Great Park. Council members Steven Choi and Christina Shea demanded to see the résumés of other candidates, but Mr. Agran withheld them, claiming the documents were personal information. Mr. Choi and Ms. Shea filed a lawsuit to enforce their right under state law to view the résumés, and said they found far more qualified candidates than Mr. Agran's friend.

This Secrecy Ordinance, if enacted by voters, could be used by City Hall to deny the public and the press access to important documents such as these that keep elected officials and City employees accountable to us.

The proposal states that city officials will decide "on a case-by-case basis" what is "personal information" that can be withheld from your scrutiny. Nothing in the ordinance requires City Hall to tell you what has been withheld or why. And there is no means of appeal.

Mr. Agran said during the July 22 City Council meeting that if Irvine is sued all the way to the state Supreme Court because this ordinance may be illegal, "so be it."

The California Public Records Act already protects your personal information, so there is no reason for this Secrecy Ordinance other than to circumvent state law.


For more information, visit www.nosecrecyordinance.com