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Editorial by Keith Smith
December 31, 2008

I was going to title this article "The Goat Industry's Still Healthy Even Though The Rest Of The Economy's Gone To Hell In A Hand Basket" but that wouldn't fit in the title area.

I'm going to finish off 2008 the same way I usually end a year... an editorial that'll make some folks uncomfortable and some others outright mad at me.

Results not typical. Do not read this editorial if you are nursing or if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant. Do not read this article if you are on alpha or beta blockers. Do not read this article if you are allergic to any of the contents of this article. Do not take this article seriously or think that it's poking fun at you. Does not protect against STDs. Do not expect to achieve these results. Anal leakage may occur. Serious, sometimes fatal, events may occur. Offer not valid in TX, NM, VT or NY. But wait! If you call within the next ten minutes I'll double the offer.

Hybrid cars - It's a given fact... we must come up with transportation that doesn't rely on fossil fuel.

The guvm'nt is disappointed in the sales of hybrid cars and is demanding that the auto companies produce more of "the cars that consumers want".

Consumers Do Not want...
· a car that requires the burning of 41 tons of coal to provide plug-in recharging over the car's lifetime.
· the increased energy overhead required to produce and build hybrid cars.
· the sloppy handling, specially in winter conditions or on mountain roads.
· the battery disposal nightmares.

They want strong, substantial, rear wheel drive vehicles such as pickup trucks, full size SUVs and the Mercury Grand Marquis and they want them to have good fuel efficiency - not the 22% efficiency of gasoline engines.

Hybrid vehicles are like digital television sets... a promising technology but not mature enough to be an improvement over the existing way of doing things.
Digital televisions provide a very crisp picture but before you buy one you might want to compare it side-by-side with the same sized analog set. I don't know about you but I prefer human faces that look like people, not plastic androids or paint-by-number caricatures.

What vehicles folks buy is largely dependent on their financial situation. Smaller vehicles are parked next to the smaller houses. The large houses have newer larger cars, trucks and SUVs. Well, the part where I implied that the smaller houses only have small cars isn't exactly true... About half of those small houses also have large passenger cars and pickups but they're much older vehicles than those parked at the large houses.

Dispersal sales - If you're getting out of the goat business and selling your goats and equipment I understand and feel for you - I've been there.
If you're selling only the goats but not the equipment I advise folks to stay away from your sale - it's obvious that you're using the words "complete herd dispersal" as a false lure to bring in more bidders.
But wait! Some well known breeders have put on multiple "dispersal" sales that were very successful. Apparently buyers have short memories.

Anti-spam - Several "free" web site and email services provide a "spam blocking" service. Sounds like a good idea on the surface but what does the spam blocker do? It requires anyone sending you an email ,or even replying to your request for information, to be registered in your email service's database as an approved sender.
Please, if you ask me a question don't be rude and make me jump through hoops to get the answer to you.

Accounts at AOL dot com - If you're an Internet novice you might respond to the links in the email sent by these folks. Duh!!! Don't even open an email from some company you've never had an account with.
How about that email from pdudsi at with the subject line 'W An Parcon Cmwn'? "Gee - I wonder what that's all about. I think I'll open it and see"! OOPS!!! The script embedded in the email just sent your email address and passwords to someone in Outer Hackerstan.
And then there's the email from tenquiry7 at titled 'YQU declination mx Adhbpsxm'. "Surely it's safe to open that one", you think. Duh. Stow your tray tables, adjust your seat to the upright position and make sure your head is where the sun shines.

The usual scam - Example: You advertise a goat for sale for $500. Someone offers you $1000 and requests that you send them $300 back and keep the difference for your trouble. They'll have someone pick up the goat in a few days. You deposit their "certified" check and send them $300. The bank tries to clear their $1,000 check and finds that it's an overseas fake. That $200 profit that you greedily pocketed just became a $300 loss and you still have a goat that you need to get rid of.

Energy savings - Real energy saving starts at home.
Some evening when it's dark outside turn out all your lights and look around your house. See all those red, green and blue dots and numbers? Each group of those represent an appliance that's either running or in a "sleep" mode.
How many of those little lights are on appliances that are rarely used? Our DVD/VCR hasn't been turned on for over two years but it's been sucking energy from the wall in sleep mode all that time.
How many digital clocks does one family need? Don't you remember how to operate a wind-up alarm clock?
"Can you hear me now"? We have three remote handsets on one phone line, two on another, and we each have a cell phone. Each of those rests in a charging cradle when not in use. Those charging cradles are plugged into the wall and suck energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; even when the handset is removed.
One thing I will not unplug is the coffee maker. When my feet hit the floor at 4:45 A.M. the coffee had durn sure best be fresh and hot!

Does your vote count? - Politicians, including George Dubya, and talking head "experts" on television like to talk about the United States' success in "spreading our democracy around the world". Hmmm... Did you make it through the 9th grade in school? If so, you attended Civics classes and learned that the form of government in the United States is a republic, not a democracy. OK, you forgot what the difference is.
A republic is governed by a set of immutable laws. In the case of the United States those laws are written into a constitution that defines the basic structure of the government and provides set rules for changing that structure and for creating/changing laws. Popular vote selects representatives to create laws that do not clash with the constitution.
A democracy, with or without elected representatives, is governed by laws that can all be changed at the whim of the majority without consideration for any individual or minority group. The right-handed majority can vote taxes, sanctions, and punishment against those who write with their left hand. If the majority is against wearing yellow shirts they can force a vote on the question and everyone must throw out all their yellow shirts or, if the new law allows it, let the offending clothing hang neglected in a closet hidden from public view.

Black Monday - On October 19, 1987, stock markets around the world "crashed". It started in Japan and the final domino to fall was the Dow Jones Industrial Average, dropping 26.2%.
In retrospect most "experts" agree that the cause of the crash was world-wide speculation which drove stock prices way above what they should have been.
Share value is traditionally guessed at by multiplying a company's earnings by five or ten then dividing by the number of outstanding shares. That's called the Price to Earnings ratio. Until late 1982 the PE ratio of most companies was between 5:1 and 10:1. On October 18th, 1987, the average S&P 500 PE ratio was 23:1. By the end of the month it was back down to normal and so were stock prices. Sounds like a market correction to me.

Black Monday, reprise - Take cover! He's coming around for another pass!
By the end of the 2nd quarter of 2008 the S&P 500 PE ratio was again on the rise at 24.92:1. Using that ratio I should be able to sell for, let's see; 4 times 7 is 28, drop the 8, carry the 2.... I sure hope the current "market correction" doesn't take hold before I decide to sell. Oops... it already did.

Mortgage madness - Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) lower the income requirement for loan approval. By 2008 the payments on earlier year ARMs increased to normal and the payers could no longer afford their houses. Hmmm... who's at fault here? The greedy lenders for selling mortgages cheap or the greedy borrowers for not knowing that they couldn't afford a $250,000 house on a $50,000 annual income?

Speculators - Don't you wish that you'd bought oil futures at $46 a barrel in early 2007 when the price was $45 per barrel? Then re-invested your gains at more than the asking price until just before you figured that the market would peak? Of course who could have foreseen that the prices would rise so high? Who, indeed! The very speculators that were buying at higher-than-market rates which drove the prices up then dumped their contracts at the peak price, driving the price back down.

Bankruptcy - Studebaker built high quality reliable automobiles for many years but it's sales dropped dramatically in 1954. It's cars just weren't what the public wanted. They closed the doors of their one remaining production plant on March 16, 1966. I don't know what happened to their assembly line workers... perhaps they went to work for the other auto makers who filled the production vacuum left by Studebaker's demise.
At any rate we've survived the loss of auto makers before, why not now?
... Studebaker is now Studebaker-Worthington Leasing, a subsidiary of State Bank of Long Island.

Just what part(s) of General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) needs the money they are borrowing from us?
· GMAP (Asia-Pacific)
· GME (Europe)
· GM LAAM (Latin America, Africa and the Middle East)
· GMNA (North America)
· GMAC Finance and insurance services
· SPO Service
· Parts and Operations;
or perhaps, more specifically, one or more if it's subsidiaries...
· Adam Opel GmbH
· Opel Ireland Ltd.
· General Motors of Canada Limited
· CAMI Automotive Inc.
· GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co.
· GM Europe
· GM Holden Ltd
· Car Care Plan Ltd
· GMAC Commercial Finance
· GMAC Insurance Holdings, Inc.
· MEEMIC Insurance Company
· GMAC Mortgage, LLC
· Residential Capital, LLC
· GMAC-RFC Limited
· Koenig & Strey, Inc.
· Masterlease Limited
· Concept Automotive Services Limited
· RouteOne LLC, Semperian
· IBC Vehicles Limited
· Isuzu Motors Limited
· Isuzu Motors America Inc.
· Tri Petch Isuzu Sales Co., Ltd.
· Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd.
· New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.
· OnStar Corporation
· Saab Automobile AB
· Saab Automobile USA
· Saab City Limited
· Saab Great Britain Limited
· Saturn Corporation
· Shanghai General Motors Co. Ltd.
· or Vauxhall Motors Limited?
Wherever it's going I'm glad they're getting it. Not to save the financial world, mind you... I have GM stock as part of my retirement plan and if they declare any chapter of bankruptcy that stock value goes to $0.00 per share.

Whoa! I just heard on the news that GMAC Financial Services was re-classified as a bank holding company so it will now be eligible for "$6 billion" in federal bail-out loan money. That means, according to the well-groomed news guy, that they can now loosen up their lending criteria and credit will flow again. According to the same guy the "loosening" is from the current GMAC requirement of a credit score of 700 or better to 621 or higher. 700? Sounds like they wanted to loan money only to those folks that had a chance of repaying it. Now, with the "loosened" credit criteria, they can, again, loan money to those who have a less than even chance of keeping up the payments.
Which came first... the chicken or the egg. Loaning money to folks who couldn't pay it back is what got us into this mess to begin with!

Or, maybe, we're just getting too much of our "news" from televised talking head sound bites and not enough from the good ol' newspapers who actually research their information before presenting it to the public as "fact".

Your mileage may vary.


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