Friday, October 31, 2008

Wow..1936 Stainless Steel Ford Coupe

1936 Stainless Steel Ford Coupe


This is the 1936 Ford Coupe built for and owned by Allegheny Ludlum Steel. It was attending our open house and then was featured in a local parade with over 100 of our salaried, hourly and retired employees walking alongside. This is 1 of only 4 in existence and is the only one currently in running & in road worthy condition. The car is in exceptional condition, with the interior and even the frame looking great. All 4 cars each had over 200,000 miles on them before they removed them from service. These cars were built for Allegheny as promotional and marketing projects. The top salesmen each year were given the honor of being able to drive them for one year. The v-8 engine (max 85 hp) r an like a sewing machine and was surprisingly smooth and quite. I thought this was a much better looking automobile than the
Ford Thunderbird that visited us last year. FYI, the car was insured (we were told) for the trip to Louisville via covered trailer for 1.5 million dollars. We were also told that the dies were ruined by stamping the stainless car parts, making these the last of these cars ever produced... More information of the history on these automobiles can be found at Allegheny Ludlum's web site
Http://www.alleghenyludlum.com/pages/companyinfo/stainlesscars.asp
The white with blue trimmed interplant building in the background of one of the pictures is where my office is currently located.



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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama TV Infomercial A Success

Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain Is Toast In This Election


"This election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent," said McCain. "Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future, or have it taken by the most liberal person ever to run for the presidency."

Liberal democracy sounds better then what McCain Offers

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded, "A day after John McCain said that he agreed with George Bush's economic philosophy, he continued to parrot the same failed policies that give billions to billionaires and big corporations while providing no relief at all to more than 100 million middle-class Americans."

A Liberal democracy is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and usually moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties).

Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal.[1]

Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term "liberal" and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for a number of principles, including freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual's right to private property,[2] free markets,[2] and a transparent system of government.[3] All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.[4]

Source

McCain Uses Every Speech to Raise Fears

The way the two candidates are presenting themselves to the voters says a lot about them and about the quality and state of their campaigns. While Obama is demonstratively acting the statesman, McCain has decided in the face of poor opinion polls to go in the opposite direction.

The themes of McCain's speeches and appearances have narrowed considerably -- and become much more negative. While Obama is already coming up with scenarios for a new America after Jan. 20, 2009, McCain is still bitterly fighting over the issue of character, over his unfortunate running mate Sarah Palin, and over "Joe the Plumber," his poorly selected symbol of the average American.

He does whatever he thinks it will take. Instead of using the final stretch to present his own abilities and to reiterate his heroic biography, McCain prefers to use every appearance to raise fears of a "Democratic takeover." His speeches consist almost exclusively of attacks on Obama. Accompanied by boos from his audience, he attacks him for being a socialist or, indirectly through his mouthpieces on US television, a communist.

It is a glaring discrepancy -- a political generation gap that is obvious to those who visit an Obama and a McCain event back-to-back. That is what many undecided voters are doing in the swing states as the candidates often appear on the same nights in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Source

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SNL Barack

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning


If you had purchased $1000.00 of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49.00.

With Enron, you would have had $16.50 left of the original $1000.00.

With WorldCom, you would have had less than $5.00 left.

If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Air Lines stock you would have $49.00 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000.00 worth of wine
one year ago, drank all the wine, then turned in the bottles for the recycling REFUND, you would have had $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to Drink heavily and recycle.


Let people you care about know...

and tell them to Start Now!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Half Wit gets I buy him a half bottle of whisky on a Saturday night and he sleeps with my wife occasionally'.

The Half Wit
English Humor.

A man owned a small stud farm in the
Midlands in England. The Department of Wages claimed he was not paying his staff the correct rate so sent a representative to interview him. 'I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them demanded the rep'. 'Well ' replied the farmer' there’s my stud hand who works the horses – he’s been with me for three years, I pay him £200 per week and free board and lodgings. Then theres the housekeeper whos been here 18 months and gets £150 per week plus free board and lodgings. Then theres the half wit.
He works 18hrs a day, does about 90% of the work round here. He pays his own room and board, makes about £10 per week , I buy him a half bottle of whisky on a Saturday night and he sleeps with my wife occasionally'.

'Thats the guy I want to talk to......the half wit ' says the rep.

'that would be me,' replied the stud farm owner.

John and Rebecca Horwood Donation

GIVING BACK

'Matching challenge' raises more for Africa

The donors John and Rebecca Horwood

The Gift: Raising more than $465,000

The Cause: Opportunity International Canada

The Reason: To fund entrepreneurs in Africa

A couple of years ago, Rebecca Horwood read a newspaper article about Opportunity International, a non-profit agency that specializes in offering micro loans, sometimes as little as $50, and other financial services to poor entrepreneurs to help them expand their businesses.

Ms. Horwood mentioned the article to her husband, John, who was mildly interested.

A few months later, Mr. Horwood happened to meet Gary Walsh, the organization's president. After learning more about the group's work, he became equally intrigued.

"Then we just got involved," Ms. Horwood said from her office at Toronto-based Richardson Partners Financial Ltd., where the couple are senior executives.

"We loved it."

They donated $125,000 over two years and made another $100,000 gift in 2008. But instead of just donating money this year, they turned it into a matching challenge.

Small groups were given $500 each to launch their own fundraising project.

The projects ranged from sales of homemade bread, tea and lemonade to barn dances, auctions and garden parties.

The extra efforts helped raise $137,000 in two months. The Horwoods kicked in an extra $37,000 and, thanks to matching grants from the Canadian International Development Agency, more than $465,000 was raised in total.

The money will be used for micro financing programs in Ghana and Mozambique.

"We were ecstatic about this," Ms. Horwood said, referring to the fundraising events.

"We are in the investment business so this was a tremendous investment."

While the Horwoods are involved in other charities, they plan to stay active with Opportunity International.

"This is one that really resonates with us," she said.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

Friday, October 17, 2008

Billy Connolly Comedian Tells It Like It Is



Hello, my name is Billy and I suffer from guilt for not forwarding 50 billion fucking chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe, if you send them on, a poor six-year-old girl in Scotland with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her to a travelling freak show.

And, do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give $1000 to you, and everyone to whom you send 'his' email?

How stupid are we?

Ooooh, looky here! If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I'll get laid by a model I just happen to run into the next day!

What a bunch of bullshit.

Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my house and sodomise me in my sleep for not continuing a chain letter that was started by St Peter in 5AD and brought to this country by midget pilgrim stowaways on the Endeavour.

Fuck 'em!!

If you're going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing.

I've seen all the 'send this to 10 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being' forwards about 90 times. I don't fucking care.

Show a little intelligence and think about what you're actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are, it's our own unpopularity.

The point being?

If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it.

If it's funny, send it on.

Don't piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to the arse of a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know. Otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

Have a nice day.

Billy Connolly

PS Send me 15 bucks and then fuck off.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bottled water not so pure, study finds

SHUTTERSTOCK IMAGES

A U.S. study has found that bottled water contains many of the same contaminants as tap water, and sometimes even more.

Bottled water not so pure, study finds

Jeff Donn
October 15, 2008

Tests on leading brands of bottled water in the United States turned up a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental advocacy group.

The findings challenge the popular impression – and marketing pitch – that bottled water is purer than tap water, the researchers say.

However, all the brands met federal health standards for drinking water. And most of the detected contaminants are common in tap water, too.

Lab tests detected 38 chemicals in 10 brands, with an average of eight contaminants found in each kind of bottled water. Tests showed coliform bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium.

The two-year study was done by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, an organization founded by scientists that advocates stricter regulation. It bought bottled water in California, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Researchers tested one batch for each of 10 brands. Eight of those did not have troubling levels of contaminants. But two brands did, so more tests were done and those revealed chlorine by-products above California's standard. The researchers identified those two brands as Sam's Choice sold by Wal-Mart and Acadia of Giant Food supermarkets.

The other eight, which researchers didn't identify, carried legal levels of many contaminants. Some of those chemicals, like arsenic and the solvent toluene, have been tied to health risks. Some of the contaminants apparently came from pollutants often found in tap water, and others probably leached from plastic bottles, the researchers said.

In the Wal-Mart and Giant Food bottled water, the highest concentration of chlorine by-products, known as trihalomethanes, was over 35 parts per billion. California requires 10 parts per billion or less, and the industry's International Bottled Water Association makes 10 its voluntary guideline. The federal limit is 80.

Water researcher Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment of the University at Albany, who had no role in the study, singled out trihalomethanes as the biggest concern because of strong research links to cancer.

"These are levels that should not be in bottled water," he said.

Giant Food officials declined to comment. Instead, company officials released a brief statement asserting that Acadia meets all regulatory standards.

Acadia is sold in the mid-Atlantic states, so it isn't held to California's standard. In most places, bottled water must meet roughly the same federal standards as tap water.

The researchers also said the Wal-Mart brand exceeded California's limit by five times for a second chlorine by-product, bromodichloromethane.

The Environmental Working Group said it notified California's attorney general of its intent to sue Wal-Mart. The group wants the company to label its bottles in California with a warning of cancer-causing chemicals. Wal-Mart did not respond to a request for comment.

Joe Doss, president of the International Bottled Water Association, said he would not defend any company that is exceeding the standard in California. "If they have exceeded it, they should meet it," he said.

The chlorine by-products, which studies have also linked to birth defects, presumably come from chlorine used as a disinfectant, which ends up in public water systems. Tap water is often repackaged and sold as bottled water, and the researchers say that was true of these two brands.

"In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better," said Jane Houlihan, an environmental engineer who co-authored the study.

The researchers recommend that people who are worried use a carbon filter for their tap water.



McCain Bankrupt Campaign 2007 - Cannot Run A Campaign or A Country






























Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Interesting Facts About Me

7 August 1954

Your date of conception was on or about 14 November 1953 which was a Saturday.

You were born on a Saturday
under the astrological sign Leo.
Your Life path number is 7.

Your fortune cookie reads:
If you want the rainbow, you must to put up with the rain. D. Parton

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 5 & 7.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 4 & 22.
You may or may not get along well with those with the Life Path number 9.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 3, 6, 8 & 11.

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2434961.5.
The golden number for 1954 is 17.
The epact number for 1954 is 25.
The year 1954 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 2/3/1954 and ending 1/23/1955.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Horse.

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Salmon; your plant is Raspberry.

You were born in the Egyptian month of Paopy, the second month of the season of Poret (Emergence - Fertile soil).

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 8 Av 5714.
Or if you were born after sundown then the date is 9 Av 5714.

The Mayan Calendar long count date of your birthday is 12.17.0.13.17 which is
12 baktun 17 katun 0 tun 13 uinal 17 kin

The Hijra (Islamic Calendar) date of your birth is Saturday, 7 Dhi'l-Hijjih 1373 (1373-12-7).

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 18 April 1954.
The date of Orthodox Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 25 April 1954.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 3 March 1954.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 6 June 1954.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 13 June 1954.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Tuesday, 28 September 1954.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Sunday, 18 April 1954.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 2 March 1954.

As of 10/14/2008 5:54:41 PM EDT
You are 54 years old.
You are 650 months old.
You are 2,828 weeks old.
You are 19,792 days old.
You are 475,025 hours old.
You are 28,501,554 minutes old.
You are 1,710,093,281 seconds old.

Celebrities who share your birthday:

Charlize Theron (1975)David Duchovny (1960)Garrison Keillor (1942)
'The Amazing' James Randi (1928)Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer (1927)Stan Freberg (1926)
Ralph Bunche (1904)Louis Leakey (1903)Billie Burke (1884)
Mata Hari (1876)

Top songs of 1954
Sh-Boom by Crew-CutsLittle Things Mean a Lot by Kitty Kallen
Oh! My Papa by Eddie FisherWanted by Perry Como
Mr. Sandman by ChordettesMake Love to Me by Jo Stafford
Hey There by Rosemary ClooneySecret Love by Doris Day
This Ole House by Rosemary ClooneyI Need You Now by Eddie Fisher

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 7.74637964774951 years old. (You old hound dog, you!)

Your lucky day is Sunday.
Your lucky number is 1 & 4.
Your ruling planet(s) is Sun.
Your lucky dates are 1st, 10th, 19th, 28th.
Your opposition sign is Aquarious.
Your opposition number(s) is 8.

Today is not one of your lucky days!

There are 297 days till your next birthday
on which your cake will have 55 candles.

Those 55 candles produce 55 BTUs,
or 13,860 calories of heat (that's only 13.8600 food Calories!) .
You can boil 6.29 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1954 there were approximately 3.6 million births in the US.
In 1954 the US population was approximately 150,697,361 people, 50.7 persons per square mile.
In 1954 in the US there were approximately 1,667,231 marriages (11.1%) and 385,144 divorces (2.6%)
In 1954 in the US there were approximately 1,452,000 deaths (9.6 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.

In 1954 the population of Australia was approximately 9,089,936.
In 1954 there were approximately 202,256 births in Australia.
In 1954 in Australia there were approximately 71,229 marriages and 6,457 divorces.
In 1954 in Australia there were approximately 81,805 deaths.


Your birthstone is Peridot

The Mystical properties of Peridot

Peridot is used to help dreams become a reality.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)
Sardonyx, Diamond, Jade

Your birth tree is
Poplar, the Uncertainty

Looks very decorative, no self-confident behaviour, only courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, good organiser, tends to philosophy, reliable in any situation, takes partnership serious.


There are 72 days till Christmas 2008!
There are 85 days till Orthodox Christmas!

The moon's phase on the day you were
born was waxing gibbous.

Monday, October 13, 2008

AMC Enzyte Advertising Is A Scam-Execs In Jail




Effectiveness

Currently, the effectiveness of Enzyte is unproven. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged the Federal Trade Commission (which has power under federal law to regulate advertising) to disallow further television advertising for Enzyte, because of a lack of proper clinical trials. They have settled with the Attorneys General of various states and have altered their advertising in a more truthful fashion. Substantiation for the brand is on file for each claim. The company now offers a 60 day return policy on unopened products.

Enzyte originally advertised that use of the Enzyte product would promote permanent physical penile growth, or the company would return purchasers double their cost. Those who attempted to collect this refund claim they either received a partial refund or were duped into signing away the right to a refund. Enzyte advertising was changed to state that the product is intended to create a firmer erection by temporarily increasing blood flow to the penis. The advertising change was made after lawsuits against the company and its rebate policies began to surface. No evidence exists that proves Enzyte to be effective in any of its claims. The product advertising states in small print that it "is not intended or promoted to diagnose, or treat any disease" and since ED (Erectile dysfunction) is a recognized disease, the advertising is considered legal.

A current civil lawsuit alleges Enzyte does not work as advertised.[1] Despite manufacturer claims that Enzyte will increase penis size, girth, firmness, and improve sexual performance, there exists no scientific evidence that Enzyte is capable of these claims. In fact, Enzyte has never been scientifically tested by the FDA, or other independent third party. [2] Accordingly, Enzyte is required by current US law to be marketed as an herbal supplement, and may not legally be called a drug. In keeping with FTC rulings, Enzyte is not allowed to claim these benefits in its advertising. However, as of August 2008, TV commercials for the product still use the phrase "natural male enhancement."

[edit] Federal indictment and conviction

On September 21, 2006, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, its owner and president, Steven Warshak, and five other individuals were indicted by the United States, Southern District of Ohio, U.S. Attorney Greg Lockhart, on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, and mail, wire and bank fraud. The indictment alleged that the company defrauded consumers and banks of US$100 million.[3] The United States Food and Drug Administration, Internal Revenue Service, postal inspectors and other agencies participated in the investigation.[4] The federal fraud trial began on January 8, 2008.[5]

In testimony during the trial, a former executive with Berkeley testified that the enhancements that the company claimed were given by use of Enzyte were fabricated, and the company defrauded customers by continuing to charge them for additional shipments of the supplement. He further testified that company employees were instructed to make it as difficult as possible for unhappy customers to receive refunds.[6]

On February 22, 2008, Steven Warshak was found guilty of 93 counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering. On August 27, 2008 he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay $93,000 in fines. His company, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, along with other defendants, was ordered to forfeit $500 million. His 75-year-old mother, Harriet Warshak, was sentenced to two years in prison.[7][8][9]

Friday, October 10, 2008

Is This The Prime Minister You Want- NOT

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion, whose campaign gained some momentum this week, suddenly faced questions about his abilities last night after a question about the economic crisis had to be repeated to him three times in a laborious television interview.

Mr. Dion's supporters blamed the incident on his hearing problem and accused the Tories of “shamelessly trying to embarrass” the Liberal Leader.

Sitting for a taped interview with Steve Murphy, the anchor for CTV Halifax, Mr. Dion had been asked: “If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper hasn't done?”

“If I had been prime minister two-and-a-half years ago?” Mr. Dion replied.

Mr. Dion started talking about his 30-day action plan to tackle the crisis but had trouble enunciating and asked to start again. “I've been slow listening to your question.”

Mr. Murphy repeated the question. Mr. Dion asked: “If I was prime minister starting when? Today?”

At one point a Liberal aide came in to explain the question.

On the third try, Mr. Dion began explaining what he would do once elected, such as calling a prime minister's conference and investing in infrastructures and manufacturing.

The Liberals asked the network not to air the portion in which Mr. Dion appears confused, but CTV felt it was their responsibility to show it. That segment is already posted on YouTube.

The Tories delayed their flight so their leader could watch the tape and comment on it. Stephen Harper usually talks to the media only once a day, but last night he met journalists again.

“When you're running a trillion-and-a-half-dollar economy you don't get a chance to have do-overs, over and over again,” he said. “What this incident actually indicates very clearly is Mr. Dion and the Liberal Party really don't know what they would do on the economy.”

He said Mr. Dion can't blame his difficulties with English. “I don't think this is a question of language at all. The question was very clear. It was asked repeatedly.”

Mark Dunn, Mr. Dion's spokesman, accused the Tories of making fun of the Liberal Leader and his hearing issues.

He said that Mr. Dion has answered that question a number of times, but just didn't understand exactly what Mr. Murphy was asking.

Mr. Harper, who had been accused of standing pat as the economy faltered, had tried to steer the campaign debate back to Mr. Dion's carbon tax.

The Conservative Leader referred several times to the Liberal Leader as “Prime Minister Dion” in what appears to be an effort to make voters hesitate about voting Liberal.

Canadians should weigh their vote carefully over the Thanksgiving turkey this weekend, Mr. Harper said warned, saying that Mr. Dion's refusal to delay his carbon-tax pledge as the economic gloom deepens should rule out electing him.

“There will be two outcomes … there will either be prime minister Dion, who will tackle our economic problems by increasing spending that we can't afford and increasing taxes to pay for it. Or our government, which will keep spending under control and keep taxes going down,” he said.

As always, he neglected to mention that the Liberals also propose $15-billion in tax breaks for individual, corporations and low-income earners to rebate all the proceeds from the carbon tax back to Canadians.

Mr. Dion refused Thursday to delay his carbon-tax plan if he forms a government, after La Presse reported that his deputy leader, Michael Ignatieff, told its editorial board there could be changes to the scheme because of the difficult economic times.

Mr. Ignatieff tried to clarify his remarks in an interview. “A Liberal government needs to act according to the facts and economic data of the moment. But I am absolutely convinced that the Green Shift is the best way to solve the crisis,” he said.

By the end of the day, both Mr. Ignatieff and Liberal MP Bob Rae, who was reported by The Canadian Press to have made similar remarks, issued a statement saying they stood “in complete agreement” with their leader.

The Liberals' carbon tax has been a hard sell in the West and in Atlantic Canada, where, for example, Nova Scotia's Conservative Premier Rodney MacDonald has attacked the idea.

Mr. Dion barely mentioned the tax in recent speeches. Instead, the Liberals are bringing out former heavyweights to emphasize their team and take away from Mr. Dion's weaknesses as a leader.

Former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien is to give the introductory speech for Mr. Dion at a rally today in Brampton, Ont. His appearance comes after his former finance minister and successor, Paul Martin, introduced Mr. Dion at a Toronto luncheon speech Wednesday.

The Liberals' carbon tax is a worthy idea, says an editorial in today's edition of the magazine The Economist magazine, which chides Mr. Harper for his attacks on Mr. Dion's plan.

However, the magazine said the country's economy and banking system are strong – “in a sinking world, Canada is something of a cork” – and Mr. Harper doesn't deserve defeat at the hand of an alarmist opposition.

“In what is the first credit-crunch election in a big Western country, Mr. Harper's ejection would set a dispiriting precedent that panic plays better politically than prudence,” the The Economist editorial says.

The portion of that interview has already been put up on YouTube.




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Financial Armeggedon Worldwide


Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

An optimistic attitude will extricate you from a tightening predicament. Your hopes are thoroughly realistic. Liberation will come. The results will surpass your expectations.

Global financial crisis has bright side
Purchasing power rises as fuel, home prices fall
October 09, 2008

Energy Reporter

If you look hard – really hard – you may be able to spot a faint silver lining amid the economic chaos that has caused stock markets to crash and lending practices to tighten up in the past few weeks.

Only three months ago, Ontario drivers were filling up their cars with gasoline at $1.37 a litre. Crude oil was trading at $147 (U.S.) a barrel. The wholesale price of natural gas was trading above $13.50 per thousand cubic feet.

Gasoline prices have since fallen 25 per cent, oil is down 40 per cent and wholesale natural gas prices have plunged nearly 50 per cent.

"It's not going to be pretty for the next little while, but let's not panic, there is some light out there," said Peter Dungan, a professor of business economics at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Dungan, taking part yesterday in a school panel to discuss the current financial crisis, said falling oil prices have put an enormous amount of purchasing power back into the hands of consumers over the past three months.

Small businesses are also enjoying a little relief from softening energy prices. "It's taking some of the edge off people's concerns, because ($147 oil) was changing the economics of moving products from place to place," said Ted Mallett, chief economist with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "Is that a silver lining? Right now, at least in the very short term, there are bigger concerns to worry about."

Avery Shenfeld, senior economist at CIBC World Markets, said it's both a sign of a weakening economy and part of the cure.

"One way that recessions end is that prices for goods come into line with what people are prepared to pay for them, including gasoline, houses and interest rates."

Housing, meanwhile, has turned into a buyer's market. Prices in the Greater Toronto Area fell for the first time in more than a decade – down 3 per cent compared with a year ago and much more depending on the neighbourhood.

A weaker dollar is also helping exporters, and falling commodity prices – while stinging economies in the west – will benefit Ontario's struggling manufacturers.

Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards, said certain individuals and industries are poised to do better than others in the current economic climate. Some much better.

"If you're young, employed, have little chance of losing your job and have no portfolio where you're losing money," you're doing well, said Sharpe, adding that now is a great time for many young professionals to begin accumulating assets and become first-time homebuyers.

Stocks are cheap. The housing market is cooling. Fuel prices are down. "Your purchasing power is going up," Sharpe said.

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