Oklahoma

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Authorizes National Guard To Carry Weapons On Duty

I try to spend as much time as I can at my family’s place in Wisconsin. And it’s my opinion that these days, Illinois could learn a thing or two from its neighbor to the north, particularly as it concerns combatting terrorists- both foreign and domestic. From a press release issued today from Wisconsin’s Office of the Governor:

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today issued Executive Order #168 allowing Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Governor Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves. I am also directing Adjutant General Donald Dunbar to evaluate longer-term plans to ensure the safety of our service members.”

A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order is attached.

I’ve read similar directives have been issued in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As for Illinois?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 Military, Public Safety, Terrorism 2 Comments

Jim Rogers On Best Ways To Invest In Agriculture

On Monday, I blogged about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers and his steadfast belief that agriculture is where big money will be made in the future.

Late last night I was on the website of the Wall Street Daily website listening to an interview of Rogers that was conducted by Robert Williams, founder of the Baltimore, Maryland-based investment research/market commentary service. Considering what I just wrote, it was what the commodities “guru” had to say about the best ways to invest in agriculture that grabbed my attention. From their exchange:

WILLIAMS: Jim, what’s the most effective route into agriculture for our readers interested in playing this long-term bull market?

ROGERS: Well, there are many ways to do it. The best way is to buy a farm- become a farmer if you really want to get rich because I explained before, some of the serious, serious, key fundamental problems in agriculture. So if you like the outdoors, if you think you’d be good at it, you might consider becoming a farmer.

Now most of your readers are probably not going to become farmers, but that’s the way. Or buy a farm and lease it to a farmer- somebody who’s competent. You can buy stocks. Certainly you can buy stocks. If you buy the right stocks- seed companies, fertilizer companies, or whatever- you’ll make a lot of money.

You can buy countries. Some countries are more agriculturally-oriented than others. Pakistan is a country that lives and dies on cotton more than anything else. So it depends on the country.

If you’re going to buy a lake house, I would buy my lake house in Oklahoma, not in Massachusetts, because stocks are at all-time highs. And we just discussed what’s been happening in commodities. So lake houses in Oklahoma or Nebraska are probably a lot cheaper than in Massachusetts. You can get a Lamborghini dealership in Iowa, because the farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis, in my view, in the future.

Or you can buy- for most people, obviously the best way is to buy an index. Many studies have shown that index investing is far and away the best way to invest in anything- stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, anything else. And there are plenty of exchange-traded products where it makes it very easy these days to invest in commodities.

On buying a lake house in Oklahoma or Nebraska, the former investing partner of George Soros said something similar in an May 23, 2003, interview on the Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE TV program. Nailing the U.S. housing bubble a couple years before it burst, Rogers talked property (with an eye towards natural resources) with co-anchor Karen Gibbs. From the interview:

GIBBS: How about real estate?

ROGERS: Well, real estate, Karen, depends on where you are. There is a mania, a housing bubble going on. But if you’re going to buy a second home, buy a lake house in Iowa, because Iowa is a natural-resources-based state. I’m bullish on agriculture. I’m bullish on natural resources. So houses in Iowa will probably do well. Don’t buy it in Boston. Boston is a financial town. I’m not that optimistic on financial companies or financial areas. So buy in Oklahoma, buy in Colorado, buy in states where the economy is going to get better. Stay away from places like New York and Boston — where I live — because real estate there will probably not do well.

In a Barron’s interview that appeared on the publication’s website on October 12, 2013 (blogged about here), the Singapore-based investor who correctly-called the commodity bull market that began in 1999 expanded:

I could buy farmland and become a farmer—although I would be hopeless at it—or buy farmland and lease it out. Buy shares in farms, farm equipment, fertilizer and seed companies that trade on exchanges around the world. Stock markets in agriculture-producing countries should do better than those in agriculture-importing ones. Retailers, restaurants, banks in agricultural areas will do well. Buy a vacation home on a lake in Iowa, not Massachusetts.

Good stuff. You can listen to/read (transcript provided) that recent Wall Street Daily interview on their website here. And for a trip down memory lane, that Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE exchange here.

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Study: 326 Chicago-Area Bridges Are ‘Structurally Deficient’

While I don’t drive over bridges too often here in the Chicagoland area, I thought Chicago-area readers should be made aware of an article published Wednesday by Art Golab and Rosalind Rossi on the Chicago Sun-Times website that noted 73 bridges in Chicago and 326 bridges in the metro area are “structurally deficient” according to 2012 federal bridge data. Golab and Rossi reported:

The nation is littered with such bridges— structures in need of “significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement,” according to a recent Transportation for America study that urges dedicated federal money for bridge repair…

Statewide, the Transportation for America study put the number of structurally deficient Illinois bridges at 2,311, or nearly 9 percent the state’s total bridges. That compares with 11 percent nationally.

From a Transportation for America press release yesterday:

Nearly 67,000 of the nation’s 605,000 bridges are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to bridge inspections analyzed in The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges 2013. Nearly 8,000 are both structurally deficient and “fracture critical”, meaning they are designed with no redundancy in their key structural components, so that if one fails the bridge could collapse. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the backlog of troubled bridges would cost $76 billion to eliminate.

The report ranks states and the District of Columbia in terms of the overall condition of the their bridges, with one having the largest share of deficient bridges, 51 the lowest. Twenty-one states have a higher percentage of deficient bridges than the national average of 11 percent. The five states with the worst bridge conditions have a share over 20 percent: Pennsylvania has the largest share of deteriorating bridges (24.5%), followed by Oklahoma (22.0%), Iowa (21.7%), Rhode Island (21.6%), and South Dakota (20.3%).

At the other end of the spectrum, five states have less than 5 percent of their bridges rated structurally deficient: Nevada and Florida lead the rankings with 2.2%, followed by Texas (2.6%), Arizona (3.2%), and Utah (4.3%).

You can access the bridge report on the Transportation for America website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Golab, Art and Rossi, Rosalind. “Report: Busiest ‘structurally deficient’ bridge in area is Kennedy Expy. over Ashland.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 June 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/20828373-761/report-busiest-structurally-deficient-bridge-in-area-is-kennedy-expy-over-ashland.html). 20 June 2013.

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Thursday, June 20th, 2013 Infrastructure, Transportation No Comments

Oklahoma Tragedy

My prayers go out to all of those affected by that massive tornado that struck Oklahoma yesterday.

At last count, 51 are confirmed dead with more than 120 being treated at local hospitals.

God bless all of them and their families,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Day Trip To Pro-Gun Wisconsin

Earlier today I was at my family’s place in Wisconsin taking care of a number of tasks. As I crossed the state line from Illinois into the “Badger State,” I couldn’t help but think of something I read on TheBlaze website the other day. On February 22, Mike Opelka discussed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and its 2011 Brady State Scorecard rankings. He wrote:

Leading the “worst” list (according to Brady) are three states that might be considered the “best” states for gun owners. All three scored a ZERO on the Brady checklist. Getting a zero is probably like scoring 100 in the eyes of a firearms fan. Meet the “zeros”:

• Arizona
• Alaska
• Utah

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 best states for gun ownership (based on Brady) appear to be:

• North Dakota
• Oklahoma
• Florida
• Wisconsin
• Texas
• Wyoming
• Mississippi

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Yep. Plenty of Wisconsinites sure are fond of the Second Amendment.

Banning hunting ammo. What were those Wisconsin Democrats thinking?

Anyway, while I was out and about in the nearby town I stopped by the sporting goods department of the local hardware store and the firearms department of a sporting goods store with a major presence in the region. At the hardware store, an employee was just getting off the phone trying to acquire more ammunition from a major distributor- with not much success by the sounds of it. While that store does a good job keeping their shelves stocked with ammo and other items that customers often use, there seemed to be less ammo on the shelves (no .22 LR from what I could see) as well as firearms compared to the last time I was in there in the fall (pre-Election).

The same goes with the sporting goods store. A lot less ammo (no .22 LR again), lots of empty hangers in the glass-paned gun cases, and not a single ammunition magazine in sight.

Now that I think of it, there were no employees in or around the gun department either.

Well, I guess you can’t sell what you don’t have. And they sure moved a lot of firearms-related product since my last visit to the store back in autumn.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Opelka, Mike. “What Are the Best and Worst States for Second Amendment Fans?” TheBlaze. 22 Feb. 2013. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/22/what-are-the-best-and-worst-states-for-second-amendment-fans/#). 25 Feb. 2012.

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Senate Democrats Defeat Amendment Eliminating $10 Billion In Duplicate/Overlapping Federal Programs

On February 28, the Government Accountability Office delivered a report to Congress that identified 32 areas where duplicate and overlapping federal programs existed. The GAO calculated that tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money could be saved by addressing this situation. According to Gregory Corte on the USA TODAY website on February 28:

GAO — a non-partisan investigative arm of Congress — has been churning out reports about these kinds of inefficiencies for years. Then in 2010, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., inserted an amendment into a bill to increase the debt limit that required a series of reports focusing on the cost of duplicate government programs that can be consolidated.

Last year’s report identified 81 areas to make government more efficient. Congress and the Obama administration have implemented just four of those. There’s been some progress on 60 items, and no progress on 17.

Enter Cobrurn Duplication Amendment 1738. From Senator Coburn’s website last Thursday, March 8:

Senate to Vote on Coburn Duplication Amendment #1738 to the Highway Bill, S.1813.

Today, the Senate is expected to vote on Coburn amendment 1738 which calls for the elimination of $10 billion in duplicative and unnecessary spending that has been identified in two recent GAO reports.

This year’s GAO report identified billions in additional duplication and chastised Congress and the administration for doing little to address problems identified in last year’s report. As Greg Korte with USA Today reported on February 28, 2012:

“Last year’s report identified 81 areas to make government more efficient. Congress and the Obama administration have implemented just four of those.”

Unfortunately, Senator Reid has not brought a single bill to the floor to eliminate duplication identified in last year’s report, which he praised. On May 4, 2011, Reid said on the Senate floor, “He [Dr. Coburn] got a GAO report that shows all kinds of redundancies and overlapping. Those are places we can cut money. Let’s do it.”

The Coburn amendment is a terrific opportunity for Senators to tell the American people they ‘get it’ and are serious about setting priorities and cutting wasteful spending.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Later that day, the U.S. Senate rejected the amendment by a vote of 52 to 46. It needed 60 votes to pass. Except for two Independents (Lieberman, Sanders) Democrats comprised all of the 44 remaining “nays.” From the Senator’s website on March 8:

Today’s vote shows that the problem in Washington is not gridlock or partisanship, but incompetence. Senators have agreed to borrow and spend far beyond our means yet refuse to eliminate wasteful spending, even when another agency has done the hard work of oversight for them. This was an easy vote, not a hard vote. Our reluctance to take easy steps toward savings speaks volumes about why we have a $15 trillion national debt and historic-low approval ratings,” Dr. Coburn said.

The GAO has identified the following areas of duplication, which could produce savings well beyond $100 billion annually. Findings include:

• 209 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education programs run by 13 agencies
• 200 overlapping DOJ grants for crime prevention programs
• 160 housing assistance programs run by 20 entities
• 94 initiatives to encourage “green building” in the private sector run by 11 agencies
• 82 teach training programs run by seven agencies
• 56 financial literacy programs run by 20 agencies
• 47 job training programs run by nine agencies
• 14 programs to reduce diesel emissions

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Minimal streamlining, increased spending, and the proverbial brick wall keeps approaching faster and faster.

Sources:

Korte, Gregory. “GAO report: Billions spent on duplicate federal programs.” USA TODAY. 28 Feb. 2012. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-02-27/GAO-report-duplicate-spending/53275924/1). 12 Mar. 2012.

“Senate to Vote on Coburn Duplication Amendment #1738 to the Highway Bill, S.1813.” U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. 8 Mar. 2012. (http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/rightnow?ContentRecord_id=711d6395-6315-433d-bc90-dfeb8432bff9&ContentType_id=b4672ca4-3752-49c3-bffc-fd099b51c966&Group_id=00380921-999d-40f6-a8e3-470468762340&MonthDisplay=6&YearDisplay=2010). 12 Mar. 2012.

“Senate Votes to Defend Duplication.” U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. 8 Mar. 2012. (http://www.coburn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ContentRecord_id=e1b451dc-a245-4e40-a734-b74fbd2e6ec2&ContentType_id=d741b7a7-7863-4223-9904-8cb9378aa03a&Group_id=7a55cb96-4639-4dac-8c0c-99a4a227bd3a). 12 Mar. 2012.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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