Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Shadow Grows

Like I said yesterday, things are getting worse. I didn't expect it to be so soon, tho.

Wal-Mart Rationing Rice.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, said on Wednesday that it would ration the amount of rice each customer can purchase at its Sam's Club warehouse stores because of recent “supply and demand trends.”

“We are limiting the sale of Jasmine, Basmati and Long Grain White Rices to four bags per member visit,” the company said in a statement. “This is effective immediately in all of our U.S. clubs, where quantity restrictions are allowed by law.”

Wall Street Journal suggests stockpiling rather than saving useless dollars.

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.

"Load up the pantry," says Manu Daftary, one of Wall Street's top investors and the manager of the Quaker Strategic Growth mutual fund. "I think prices are going higher. People are too complacent. They think it isn't going to happen here. But I don't know how the food companies can absorb higher costs." (Full disclosure: I am an investor in Quaker Strategic)

Stocking up on food may not replace your long-term investments, but it may make a sensible home for some of your shorter-term cash. Do the math. If you keep your standby cash in a money-market fund you'll be lucky to get a 2.5% interest rate. Even the best one-year certificate of deposit you can find is only going to pay you about 4.1%, according to And those yields are before tax.

Meanwhile the most recent government data shows food inflation for the average American household is now running at 4.5% a year.

And some prices are rising even more quickly. The latest data show cereal prices rising by more than 8% a year. Both flour and rice are up more than 13%. Milk, cheese, bananas and even peanut butter: They're all up by more than 10%. Eggs have rocketed up 30% in a year. Ground beef prices are up 4.8% and chicken by 5.4%.

Hording and calls for regulation from farming interests and food executives.

Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas.

I am willing to bet that we shall see more news like this on an almost daily basis from here on out. Yeah, I know it sounds a bit paranoid, but better safe than sorry. Right?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Looming Shadow

With all of the current crises that we are forced to face by government ineptitude and chicanery you'd think that the bread basket of the world wouldn't be facing food shortages, but the fact is that America, like the rest of the world is looking at shortages of essential foodstuffs. We are also facing rising prices due to numerous governmental interferences in the market place. There's even been a modest attempt at food rationing in some locales. Is this a trend we are going to see more of in the future? The answer is quite likely a resounding yes.

Food shortages and price increases are a burgeoning worldwide phenomenon and no-one is going to go unscathed as things spiral further down. While the 3rd world is being hit the hardest by the current shortages, even places as economically secure as Japan are experiencing their own shortages of foodstuffs. At the root of all this is government interference in the marketplace and the global warming nutcases.

The rise in prices can pretty easily be traced to the government subsidised and, in some cases mandated, adoption of biofuel initiatives in an effort to exacerbate global cooling promote the global warming hysteria embraced by so many politicians and cultists the deliberately ignorant.
This interference has also helped us reach the point where the US wheat stocks are at a 60 year low and international prices have surged over 130% in the past year. It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to see that tougher times are on the way. Especially if we keep using our food supply to fuel cars at the behest the nihilistic Malthusians fueling the global warming movement.

What this means for Joe Public is a continuation of price increases. Add into this the plunging value of the dollar, rising fuel costs and increased inflation and we are looking at some tough times in the future. Most families have already seen their food bills rise to new levels and things are unlikely to trend downward any time soon. What is a body to do?

Political commentator Glenn Beck, speaking to this very subject, has some useful advice.
All I'm asking you to do is go out and buy some flour. Don't panic. Don't hoard it. Don't do any of that. Just go out and protect your family. Go out and store some flour. Store some rice. Put it in your basement. Use it through the summer or whatever. Just hang onto it and then if things get bad, you use it. So you batten down the hatches of your own finances. So you don't have to worry so much about food prices because futures are telling us that the price is going to continue to increase. The global food price has gone up 83% in the last three years alone. Futures are telling us it's going up. You will pay that price in gas soon. You will pay that price in food soon. The truckers will have to charge more for the delivery soon. So you're going to feel this much more than you are now. Spend your money wisely and store up on some food. So then when everybody else is panicking, you will be calm enough with your family and your neighbors and say, relax. Relax, we'll never run out of food and you won't be panicked because the worst thing that happens is when people panic, and there's got to be a core of people that don't panic if and when these things hit.
I find it hard to argue with advice like that. It makes uncommon sense. Adding an extra bag of this and a can of that to the larder each time you go could make the difference between paying the bills or feeding the family come hard times.

If you were so inclined, and it would make a lick of difference, you could also lobby the talking heads in Congress, your state pols, and those hacks running for President and ask them to withdraw all support for subsidies, ethanol, the global warming cult and all the other things they've done to create the current and future food crises facing us and the rest of the world. That would mean they'd have to support the concept of less government, tho. And we all know how they feel about that.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Gun Free Zone Erupts

Imagine my complete lack of surprise to see that Chicago had a banner weekend for murder, shootings and stabbings. I can't help but wonder how many rapes, robberies or burglaries also occurred during that same time period. How can this possibly occur in the paradise that is Chicago? Didn't they ban firearms? I know that I am not allowed to visit their city and bring a firearm with me for my safety and that of my family, with whom I would be traveling. I've checked on it. It looks like chaos reigns supreme in Mr. Daly's paradise by the lake.
In an especially violent weekend, no less than 31 people have been shot in Chicago -- six fatally -- and two people have been stabbed since noon Friday. The shooting victims range in age from 12 to 65.
By comparison I, (carrying my sidearm) went out this weekend and shot absolutely no-one. Had a nice impromptu dinner at Five Guys with my visiting dad, brother and the kids, ignored the other patrons and I didn't shoot one single person. My firearm didn't get out and do any damage on its own, either.

Chicago seems to have a problem. Too many gun laws would be my guess. A lot of innocent people managed to get hurt and killed there because they, unlike myself, were unable to defend themselves. The government disarmed them and made victims of them.
About 6 a.m., a man broke into an apartment in the 1900 block of West Winona Street and stabbed a man, 26, and woman, 30. Both people were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition.
If this had happened in my neighbourhood the results would likely have been very different. Never bring a knife to a gun fight isn't just a trite saying. It's a way of life.