Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The real culprit in our financial Crisis

Is you. The consumer. Stop blaming the banks and financial derivatives companies. You did this to yourself... and it started back in the 1980's. Recently I had an exchange with a poster on the Oregon live comment section where I said that any "stimulus" finds that came my way were now nothing more than more money for me to put into savings. I was told I was destroying America.

This may be true to someone who has no known any other way. After all, there are 26 year old men and women who never experienced stagflation in the late 70's-early 80's. They don't know anything but an America where credit cards are given to high school kids to finance their "cool" style, concert tickets, cd's, stereos, tv's, dates and whatever else they want. They have seen mom and dad splurge for anything and everything they could possibly want. Buying houses bigger than they need, cars and trucks bigger than they need and every new gadget under the sun as soon as it is available. There are hundreds of thousands of kids with MULTIPLE video game systems.

Where did they get all of these consumer goods? Certainly not with their allowances or lawn mowing money. No, they bought everything on credit. Credit is all they know. Check out the savings rate at your bank and you might get why people went away from saving their money for these products; it doesn't pay. My bank is offering a whopping 0.2% APY. Why the heck would I ever put my money there?

Instead, we were encouraged to put our wealth into variable assets like mutual funds and 401k's because there was better wealth potential there. But why, oh why, did the government and banks care where we put our savings? Well, simply put, bankers and financiers were not getting wealthy by money sitting in savings accounts. Goods and services were moving slowly. Reagan wanted to change that... so he used supply side economics to attempt to stabilize inflation and stagnation. It worked in most peoples eyes... bot as swiftly as some would have liked, but after about 7 years, the economy started gaining steam. All seemed fairly good... until 2001.

After a short recession, America started to pick up steam. The Internet bust didn't seem to stop the economic growth. But there was a catch... the economy was growing with a BIG consequence: everything that was being produced was being purchased with credit. Bigger houses; bigger cars came with bigger price tags. Our inflation adjusted income had not risen since the late 60's, yet more of our overall income was going towards debt bearing products like mortgage, autos and electronics. No longer was America producing tangible goods people could afford, they were producing financial products afforded only through credit.

Last fall, we had a National Margin Call. that's right... the Nation received a margin call... and we couldn't cover our debts.

My personal Solution? Simple. Stop. When I was younger (I am 43 now), we didn't go buy a new car every three years. We drove our car until it couldn't go another inch and saved for a new one. We were a nation that understood a very important concept... most of what we buy is utilitarian in nature. Cars are a mode of transportation. We need them to get to work and get us to our other important appointments. It doesn't have to be pretty to get the job done.

When we buy a $20,000 car and pay a mere 6% interest, over a 5 year loan you pay $3200 in interest. So the REAL cost of that car is $23,200, but it was NEVER WORTH THAT amount. Instead, save that $390/month for the 5 years and you will have 23,400 PLUS INTEREST to buy an even better car... that you will own outright... it only takes a small sacrifice for 5 years of driving a clunker to get to that 1st new car. Small price to pay if you ask me.

Next, your mortgage. So many young people get out there and want all the extravagances right out of school. Stop. You're young, single and childless, why waste your money... start saving now. Be frugal, stop eating out 3 times a day, budget tight and save everything you can. When it is time to buy your first house... buy small.

At the beginning of this year, we had ZERO savings... we had fallen prey to the same thing America as a whole had fallen for... spend, use all available credit, have nice everything. But we had lost our house last year due to medical bills that just didn't seem to stop coming. And I just decided it had to stop. At the end of this year, we will pay off my wife's car (mine has been paid off for quite some time). In 10 years, we will have enough in savings to buy a 2 bedroom condo and still have well over $200,000 in the bank. We are not wealthy... we are lower middle class income range. But we are off the spending cycle and on a SAVINGS cycle.

This is why I was told I was destroying America, but I disagree. I am saving America. America was destroyed by people spending beyond their means. It is time we buy what we can afford and start producing something in our country other than "financial derivatives" and "speculative earnings." This will take time. The Economist Magazine has an EXCEPTIONAL article which backs up my belief that the way out of this crisis is not by spending our way out; but by saving our way out.

We need to take control of our own futures and stop speculating about the future. Too many people want to get rich quick or "buy" like a rich person living in fancy houses, driving fancy cars that they cannot afford. Stop paying the "get rich quick" guy with interest bearing debt. Start paying yourself. Save. Only buy what you need and what you have the CASH for... the rest of the world will fight you because they want you to go back to buying everything on credit... it's why they produce goods...

American Consumers Struggle With Their Debts-The Economist

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Automotive Crisis Avoidable?

Over the past five years we have heard it all from the three major American automotive manufacturers. We have heard of record profits due mainly to strong SUV sales. And now we are hearing how the economy has shifted their power and they are now on the verge of bankruptcy.

You will hear many pundits debate this and talk about different ratios and how the CEO's mismanaged the company. This is all true, but the solutions they seemingly offer do not help our understanding of what is going on inside the car companies. Not enough of the real world is savvy enough to understand contract law as it relates to unions. Very few of the real world can understand the complex financial structure in which union leaders have their retirement funding.

What we can understand at our level is lack of focus. We all have to deal with this every day. We have to plan for the future. We learned this lesson in the 1980's. If you spend everything you earn, at some point, your earnings will go down and you will be left with nothing but "stuff." After all, how much are those expensive electronics really worth?

This is the same problem that happened at the automotive manufacturers. They were so busy living in the moment, that they forgot to plan for tomorrow. Well, tomorrow arrived last year with sky0high gas prices and no relief in sight. Due to an economic melt down, we did receive some much needed gas price relief, but what will the automotive companies do now? Will they go back to business as usual using the bail out money to "tide them over" until the economy picks up again, or will they finally see the light and change the way they do business.

Every business goes through a cycle and if you rest on your laurels, eventually, you will die as a company. If you want to keep going, you have to innovate; stay ahead of the competition. It is time for American ingenuity to take over and for the "Big Three" to reassert themselves.

How, though, are they supposed to do this. Well, I think they have to look at what the future holds economically. They need to change the way they do business from top to bottom.

First of all, I think that they need to come up with a new way to run the company from the top. There is no reason that the CEO of any company should make $500 million in bonuses, regardless of his success. Unless a CEO is a majority stockholder (greater than 50% of the company's stock), he should be paid a salary plus bonuses based STRICTLY on profits, not sales. These bonuses should have a cap and anything above said cap be paid in stock options.

Second, innovation NEEDS to be "job #1." Without innovation, the company WILL fail. It is not "innovative" to find new concepts for an SUV... or to put more gadgets in an existing SUV. It is lazy and it is not working. What is innovative, changing the way America sees transportation and changing the way they BUY cars.

We are too advanced with information too readily available to be stuck buying cars like the old days. Look, I worked at dealerships, there was a reason for them in the past, the reason for them needs to change. Think about it, why are there hundreds of vehicles on a new car lot? So they can sell them quickly. But this leaves the dealer tied up into the millions and tens of millions, so rather than truly assessing his customers needs, he sells what he has.

Why not assess a customers needs and sell him something that fits those needs. Use innovation to create the ability to do so... as an example, virtual reality can really get a customer to understand a new vehicle, this can be set up fairly easily. Obviously, customers want to know how a car drives, but why have a hundred of the same car on the lot? I say you have one or two of each model on the lot, and let a "distributor" (who cannot sell to anyone but dealers), hold higher inventory selling something more specific to each dealer. If a customer goes in on Saturday and wants a red Ford Ranger, after he has agreed to the purchase, the dealer orders the correct vehicle from the distributor and within 48 hours, the customer still has their car.

From the Corporate perspective, we need to find a way to get cars that are more competitive with Toyota's and Honda's. Stop worrying about bigger and make more competitive cars. Just the other day, I had a customer come in to my shop and say he was going to be glad to get out of the rental. He was in a Malibu and it just didn't compare, in his mind, to his Camry. The difference? It did not have the same ride and feel. It still had all the bells and whistles, but not the same ride.

Also, I believe a dealer should not be limited to selling a specific make, he should be able to order ANY new car from his distributor and sell that car... then a dealer's success will no longer be dependent on the successful innovation of a specific company, but on his ability to service his customers.

These are but a few of the ways to make our car companies better, we need to think of even more.

The most important thing, in my opinion, though, is to rid themselves of the overbearing union which benefits very few at the expense of very many.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Change of Pace

Well, this blog started as an ode to my extreme distaste for John Canzano... I will ALWAYS speak my mind regarding his inaccurate columns and ridiculous commentary when needed. However, I have decided that I want to also comment about many things other than a moron who has no place in journalism.

So, tonight, I stick with sports. Utah may have made the best case yet that the BCS system is still broken. In 2004 the team went undefeated in the regular season and became the first "BCS Buster." Most sports fans do not need this history lesson, but it is relevant to the discussion.

While the team got into the BCS, they were set up with a no win situation. If they lost, BCS proponents would be able to say that they did not belong... but, because they were playing a Pitt team that was nowhere near the caliber of the best teams in the country, winning would only be viewed with "well, Pitt wasn't that good." This is exactly what happened.

This year, in their infinite wisdom, the BCS tried to set up Utah again... pitting them against Alabama ina virtual home game for the Crimson Tide, everyone outside of Utah expected the rout. Everyone wanted to, once and for all, show the world that the non-BCS schools just cannot hang with the "real" big-boys.

Then Utah went out and dominated Alabama. The BCS cannot hide it's warts any longer. While I am certainly not going to definitively state that Utah is the best team in the country, they deserve a shot at the NC. It is time for a modified playoff system.

I know what most of the complaints are, but mine is modified to an 8 team playoff where winning your conference is more important than scoring lots of "style" points.

There are 6 BCS conferences, conference champs get an automatic bid tot he playoffs. The 7th bid goes to the highest rated non-BCS conference champion (this year that would be Utah). The other 4 conference champions (this year, Sun Belt, Conf-USA, Mt. West and Mid American) play each other in a 2 game "play-in" for the final BCS spot.

In order to keep the lower tier bowls involved (and likely create more interest) these lower tier bowls are used for these play-in games. As an example, this year, the Motor City Bowl could have hosted the MAC Champ v. The Sun Belt Champ on Dec 13th (Buffalo v Troy) while the Poinsettia Bowl could have hosted the Mt. West v C-USA (Boise State v. E. Carolina) The winners face each other at a "home" site to be determined by the BCS (highest rated of these two winners team plays a home play-in game).

This gets us our 8 teams. Each of the traditional New Year's Day Bowl games hosts their traditional match-ups where possible... so this year that would mean

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma v At large
Rose: USC V. Penn State
Sugar Bowl: Florida v At Large
Orange Bowl: Va Tech v Cincinnati

The winners of these would meet the following Saturday with a HOME team... the BCS #'s would dictate who gets the home games. These would be the national semifinals. Finally, the following week would be the National Championship game at a rotating site... but not necessarily tied to the four main ones... it could even be tied to the Super Bowl site.

Now, this solves nearly every problem mentioned by those who claim that the system we have is fine. First, there can be no arguments of who deserved it more. In order to get in you MUST win your conference... if you don't, you have no reason to complain.

Second, this does NOT extend the season by much more than it already is... in my system, the National Semi-Finals would be on Saturday, January 10 and the NC game would be January 17th. This years game is on the 8th... so it would only add 9 days...

Third, the traditional bowls would STILL get theirs... AND they would be able to get back to more traditional match-ups ALL ON NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Fourth, the National Semifinals on campus... talk about your SERIOUS MONEY... those who think that the current system generates more money... have no clue how much money would be generated by on campus semifinals.

Fifth, the lower tier bowls would still get very attractive match-ups... think about it, in my scenario, look whose still out there for bowl games, only the likes of Texas, Ohio State and Alabama.... not bad for the second tier bowls to get those teams!

Sixth, this would IMPROVE early season Out Of Conference (OOC) games. Why? Well, if you know that losing to a quality team will not knock you out of the National Championship race, wouldn't you be more willing to schedule the tougher teams? After all, playing tougher teams early will get you more prepared for your conference schedule... thereby ENABLING you to have a better shot at a national title.

Seventh, Notre Dame haters, this means that, if Notre Dame wants access, they HAVE to join a conference... no more independents! (I am sure whichever conference they joined would allow them to maintain their own TV contract)

Are there other ideas? Sure, but most of them call for nearly scrapping the entire Bowl system, I know that is not going to happen... so why ask for something you KNOW you cannot get? Let's try to push something that has a chance... in order to get what we the fans want (a playoff), we MUST recognize that we have to keep those things in tact that the current system holds dear to it's heart, the Bowls and the BCS.

Finally, the ONLY way to take debate of who "deserves" to be in a playoff, you must make the entrants contingent upon being conference champions... Do I think Troy is a "better" team than Alabama? Nope. But Troy won their conference and Alabama did not.

Win your conference and you're in. Lose and go to a lower tier bowl... I also think, by the way, that this would RAISE the stature of some of those lower tier bowls.

Now, let's see if somehow this little blog can get discovered and that the powers in college football see the light. Otherwise, we might just as well go back to the pre-BCS system and just let people "vote" for a National Champ. Until then, the national championship will still likely be decided by who scores the most style points to get to the game (that's you Oklahoma).

Brand Canzano connected?

Since leaving the University of Oregon, Myles Brand has been on a mission... a mission to reform college athletics. Unfortunately, he appears to have the same disdain for athletes and coaches that John Canzano does.

We know that they were at Indiana at the same time and that they both share a dislike for any coach or athlete who has more power than they think is right. Is it any coincidence that the same guy who happened upon Darius Miles in a strip club was also around during the famous female student getting yelled at incident of Bobby Knight's undoing?

Of course not, this is how yellow journalists work... they pick a target then set him up in a situation that will incriminate them. Why? So they can "report" the "incident" and make a name/buck for themselves. This is the kind of "journalist" (term used VERY loosely) Canzano is... a low life scumbag who cannot help but pick on those who he deems unworthy of praise.

He does this knowing that he will be able to pick the verbal fight, then, if the coach doesn't respond, Canzano can write that he was correct all along... if the coach does respond, Canzano can say write additional columns saying the response was poorly timed; incorrect, andy number of things.

Because coaches, you see, have better things to do with their time than sit down and respond to every ridiculous comment that an IDIOT like Canzano puts in the paper...

The funny part is, the little plot of Brand and Canzano to rid the world of coaches and athletes appears to not be working.... oh well, maybe John Boy can take Brand to that strip club where he "accidentally" saw Darius Miles and buy him a beer... but if you see them, make sure to let me know so I can write up how they have lost their dedication to their profession because they spent a little free time somewhere other than where they "should" have.

BTW, it shouldbe fun to note that the Weasel pile of crap known as the Bald Faced Moronic Hypocrite actually let a post go through without changes... wonder if dumbass is reading my blog? (I did, after all, send him a link!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Paranoia? Or just plain insecure?

Whatever it is, John Canzano certainly displays it on a regular basis. I have left no disguise on my disdain for Canzano's writing. He shows an incredible lack of journalistic integrity and has used his position as a means at exacting personal revenge on anything and everything related to the University of Oregon; but especially Mike Bellotti.

Recently, this fool wrote himself into a corner thinking he would be able to once again bash Bellotti. He made an assumption, however; a wrong assumption. You see, he wrote a column recently calling the 2008 Holiday Bowl a "must win" game. He did this on his own personal belief that the Ducks would lose and he would be able to ride high on his pulpit and "prove" he was right; that Bellotti could no longer win those "important" games.

The problem is, his assumption turned out to be wrong. The Ducks won and for the first time in a long time, he had to eat his own crow. This was fun for me to read, because I could see the pangs of frustration between the lines... this must have HURT Canzano's pride beyond belief... and that brought me great joy.

While reading through his blog posts this morning, I noticed some people referring to his writing skills... I kindly pointed out THE TRUTH about his history... I merely pointed out that he hasn't done too badly for an Oregon kid who had to go to Cal State Chico to play baseball. I merely pointed out that he was not even a journalism major, hence accounting for his lack of journalistic integrity. Rather than let a post where I merely stated the truth to go through, he could have simply chosen not to print the post. That would be understandable. Instead, he chose to COMPLETELY reword my post to read: (Interesting since his show is called "The Bald Faced Truth")

John Canzano was named national sportswriter of the year in 2004 by the Press Club of Atlantic City and his Associated Press awards speak for themeselvse. He's terrific. I wait in my driveway every morning for the newspaper and can't wait to see what he writes.

Now, anyone who knows me or has read this blog would know that I would never post such drivel about such a ridiculous excuse for a journalist as I have ever seen. Yet, there was the Clown named Canzano changing the words to suit his own ego.

That is wehen it occurred to me... Canzano has been on this bender against Bellotti for quite some time... but why? BAM, it hit me... Canzano cannot STAND the attention he thinks he deserves going to someone he thinks is beneath him... Canzano feels as if his profession is somehow, more noble and worthy of praise than that of a football coach. Especially a coach who wields as much power as does Mike Bellotti.

This is the epiphany for me, Canzano writes the way he does because his ego has been bruised. He has ALWAYS felt he deserved more glory than he received. His father, you see, was a pretty good baseball player... played up to AAA level in the minors... but sadly, young John never quite measured up to pops. He was never the best player... not in the state of Oregon, not in his league and not at his high school. He couldn't even get the local schools to give him a sniff... so he wound up at Cal State Chico.

All that time, John Boy fancied himself better than those getting more recognition... and his anger at the truth boiled within. Even in college, he did not study journalism. He says he wanted to be a writer, yet he never studied the art... wonder why? Maybe, just maybe he was looking for a way to "get back" at all those people who he felt had wronged him. He just did not know how, until he figured out that the written word carries a lot of power to get back at those who have done him wrong. Not being a trained journalist, he was never in position to work in any other capacity than a columnist.

Really, he became nothing more than a yellow sports journalist. Doing everything he could to anger others and draw attention to himself by doing so. But you might wonder, why such disdain for the University of Oregon.

Well, that hit me too... when you read Canzano's bio, you might notice that he briefly covered the Indiana Hoosier basketball team while Bob Knight was their coach still... well, during that time (1998-99) guess who the President of Indiana University was... yep... Myles Brand, former University of Oregon President... I will have more on this tomorrow!

Stay tuned, the psychosis that is John Canzano's obsessive hate will continue!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Canzano now committing slander?

Canzano's most recent article shows his desperation... desperation for headlines... desperation for some sort of critical notoriety... desperation for more acclaim.

From the time that the Bald Faced Hypocrite coined the phrase "JailBlazers" in a column and began some real investigative journalism (uncovering a secret deal where a Blazer player's fine would be refunded), he has fancied himself some kind of Woodward & Bernstein of the Sports world. There was a problem with this... he's a lousy journalist. He's a hack. Today, though, he crossed the line.

Ah, yes, more of the fact based reporting by the... oops... I forgot The Bald Faced Hypocrite is a columnist not a reporter.

I am amazed by the number of people who seem to think that they know what happened in Mexico based on published reports. For the people who question the fact that Morrison was ID'd... keep in mind that the pictures in question were taken the night after the attack and then taken to the hospital for Meagher to look at... with no comparison photos...

Granted... not a lot of 6'11" guys, but there are plenty of tall guys roaming around... and plenty of short guys running around.

The crimes we should be talking about are libel and slander. There was a rush to "condemn" the actions in this before the facts were fully known... I can say this... if someone had the money to pay for some medical bills, they have the money for a good attorney.

Finally, I am appalled by Mr. Morrison's father's comments where he said the victim "got himself beat up" and "got himself into trouble" as if somehow the victim brought it upon himself.

I am sure that this will not be "approved" by teh Bald Faced Hypocrite... most of my posts aren't simply because I ALWAYS disagree with The Bald Faced Hypocrite.

The best thing to come of the PSU story... Canzano may have stuck his foot in his mouth... maybe this is the impetus needed to start a real campaign against the Bald Faced Moron!

I sure hope Scott Morrison has a good attorney!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Surprised yet?

I'm not. Once again, The Bald Faced Hypocrite is using his Oregonian gig as a long arm of the Blazers law. It was already publicly reported that the Blazers had scolded Oden for his dubious decision to play a pick up basketball game at 24 Hour Fitness.

So Canzano feels the need to chime in? I guess the Blazer Brass decided that the message wasn't clear enough and that they needed their paid hack to publicly flog him. Or, maybe this was done in a futile attempt for Canzano to act as if he is some independent arm of the Blazers and is not their paid biotch. The fact is he IS their paid [female dog] and we all know it... all except for the Bald Headed Hypocrite.

Nonetheless, his hypocrisy continues to reign supreme at the Oregonian. I will stay vigilant. In fact, I write the Oregonian demanding a retraction for Canzano's scandalous "facts" from the Ernie Kent article. And, of course, today he has the audacity to hawk his other programs through his blog... what a chump.

One of these days, The Bald Faced Hypocrite will look in the mirror and realize he is a pile of crap hack... until then I will continue to fight every word he says.