Ross Mackenzie

Friends, this bulletin: There is news beyond the late lamented Michael Jackson.

For instance: The Minnesota Supreme Court has given Al Franken his creds to try to surpass as a Senator his dismal performance as a comedian - the two professions being so intimately linked. Bernie Madoff has begun a 150-year stint for ruining lives on a hitherto unimagined scale. And...

-- Seven states failed to get their game together sufficiently to pass budgets by their June 30 deadlines. Currently running a $26 billion deficit in a $92 billion budget, California leads the way. So to contractors, local governments, welfare recipients, students on scholarship, and taxpayers awaiting refunds - in the month of July alone the Golden State expects to hand out about $4 billion in...IOUs.

-- Many states may be in effective bankruptcy, but with the help of federal monies to erase its debt, General Motors has just emerged from it. Questions: What serious private-sector lender will extend credit to GM now? And: What about the dilution of GM's talent pool? Will any MBA in his right mind want a GM job?

-- Moreover, in the words of Cato Institute economist Alan Reynolds: "General Motors can survive bankruptcy far more easily than it can survive President Barack Obama's ambitious (Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)) standards, which mandate that all new vehicles average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016....The government is already planning to spend about $50 billion bailing out GM, plus $7 billion for Chrysler. Will President Obama provide Detroit automakers with even more subsidies to pay CAFE fines?"

-- In addition, the lending squeeze may send many of the nation's major airlines (Delta, American, United, Continental, and USAir) into bankruptcy by winter - again.

-- Yes, judge and empathist Sonia Sotomayor will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, and all the best to her. Among the many dubious aspects of her confirmation hearings were the preening stuffed-shirt senators who supported her by ripping Chief Justice John Roberts - nominated by Obama's villainous predecessor - and "the Roberts court."

-- Oh, the things Congress has done and left undone. By raising the minimum wage, effective July 24, from $6.55 to $7.25 an hour, it will exacerbate teenage unemployment (in June, 24 percent for teenagers overall - and 38 percent for teenage African-Americans).

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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