Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hoot Number 10

This is a riot.

Dang Tokyo stocks open sharply lower on pessimism over U.S. economy
Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower Friday on mounting pessimism over the future course of the U.S. economy.

Inflation News

Reuters: Officials think dollar has fallen far enough
Both Bernanke and Paulson have said that they wouldn't rule out currency market interventions, but neither seems eager to take such a step. Instead, the focus appears to be on shoring up confidence in the financial sector so that foreign investors won't lose faith in all U.S. assets, including the dollar.

Iraq Violence 7-31-08

Gulf News; Suicide attack targets Iraqi police, kills 3

Number 1

I am a complete sucker for articles on the universe and its inception.

Its one of the things that turns your attention towards the bigger picture. It tends to put our matters into a different relative perspective.

Reuters: Universe's first star born tiny, grew huge: study
The first object to brighten the dark, primordial universe after the Big Bang was the tiny seed of a star that rapidly grew into a behemoth 100 times more massive than the sun, scientists said on Thursday.

The first protostar was born about 300 million years after the Big Bang, the researchers said. Nuclear reactions inside the protostar made it the first object to cast starlight in what some astronomers call the "cosmic dark ages...

It was a relatively tiny object at first, 1 percent the mass of the sun. But within about 10,000 years -- "the blink of an eye," according to the researchers -- it grew into a giant full-fledged star at least 100 times the sun's mass.
Protostars for dummies - Space Art

Crowd Surf Off A Cliff

From a deep operative -

Emily Haines

Shrinking and Expanding

There is a shake out going on. Exactly how it will settle is unclear.

One aspect of it has to do with the drive on Wall Street for profit and the mandatory propulsion of corporations to profit more and more. At some point there has to be a diversion of at least some resources away from this firmament. We need serious money. We have to go green. The resources are there to make the economy boom from green industry. Its as clear as a bell and the country is begging for it.

The alternative is not pretty. Its a hollowed out shell of a country. There has to be shift. The smart people are aware and on it, the research is done, and there are some small gains. The hope is that a progressive, truly visionary leader can embed the ideas and inspire real action.

Yahoo: Economy gains traction in spring; shrank year end
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product, or GDP, increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the April-to-June period. That marked an improvement over the feeble 0.9 percent growth logged in the first quarter of this year and an outright contraction in the economy during the final quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, sales of U.S. exports grew at a 9.2 percent pace in the second quarter, up from a 5.1 percent growth rate in the first quarter. The weak dollar has made U.S. goods cheaper to foreign buyers, helping to bolster exports.

A trio of crises — housing, credit and financial — have badly bruised the economy. In response, employers have cut jobs for six months in a row, bringing total losses this year close to a staggering half-million — 438,000.
The photo is by Cindy Sherman.

Faith Off

A UK game show that attempts to bring people of different faiths together.

VP Stakes

Human Testing? Bush signs new rules, roles for spy agencies
The executive order maintains the decades-old prohibitions on assassination and human testing
This tiny announcement is jammed packed with information to parse in the days, weeks, and years to come. This is a bullion cube. We are already extremely wary of this thing.

Assassination? Human Testing? Does torture count as human testing? Does reducing a person to a mumbling vegetable count as assassination? Its just the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bush Says Drill

Your job is to listen to Bush and critically examine all of his points, to go way outside the frame. How honest and truthful are his words. Is he spinning the truth. Why is he saying what he is saying. Who would benefit by his words turned to actions, who would not benefit.

Rove in Contempt

Raw Story: Judiciary Committee approves resolution holding Rove in contempt of Congress
The House Judiciary Committee has voted 20-14 to approve a contempt of Congress resolution against former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for his failure to appear after a Congressional subpoena.
There is a point at which the name and the word become synonymous. The word is contempt.

When its all said and done, has dividing the country across severe political boundaries and playing fast and loose with voting dirty tricks benefited or seriously injured the country.

Everyone knows its the latter, everyone.

Chrysler and Tata

First let me say that my confidence in Tata is in tatters. After reading several interesting reports of compressed air cars and public transport being produced by Tata, I was infatuated. Not so sure anymore, the romance is in the tumultuous state. The shadow aspects of the company have given me second thoughts. They want the world and they want it now, luxury cars, gas guzzlers, oh yeah.

Where is the solid commitment to green car design. Come on Tata, see the light.

Regardless, Chrysler is in talks with Tata about selling its Jeep Wrangler in India.

Will India want it, the Wrangler does get in the 28 or so mpg on the highway.

Reuters: Chrysler in talks with Tata and Fiat: sources

Jobs Lost To China

The article goes on about free trade debates because of this harsh data - 2.3 million jobs lost as a result of trade with China.

Look let's get clear what this is all about. Its not a result of 'trade' with China. Its a result of American corporations moving their manufacturing operations to China to save on labor costs, and to circumvent regulations of all kinds. Companies move to China and American workers are out of a job. They move because the labor is cheaper in China. They move because they are dumping monstrously huge medical benefit costs for their employees as well. There's probably 3 dozen more reasons as well.

How could I forget, they move because of an administration that favors the elite owners and investors over the workers. So the path is greased.

When I see something with the made in China logo, I look it over. I immediately know that the quality is not what it used to be. I buy tools a lot and the difference between American made tools from a few years back, and the same brand tools now made in China, is huge, huge. But guess what - the prices are not much different.

Reuters: U.S.-China trade has cost 2.3 million U.S. jobs: report
The U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.3 million American jobs between 2001 and 2007, the Economic Policy Institute said on Wednesday in a report likely to fuel debate about free trade ahead of November elections.

Up For Now

We were so on top of this. Financials boosted after Fed move
Wall Street stocks on Wednesday were set to add to the steep gains made in the last session as the Federal Reserve took steps to extend emergency liquidity measures, backstopping the beleaguered financial sector, while oil prices slipped back again.

Bush Signs Housing Rescue Bill Bush signs huge housing rescue plan
The bill, which legislators from both sides of the aisle have described as vital to stem fallout from a slumping housing sector, provides 300 billion dollars in federal guarantees to help refinance troubled mortgages.
It will be interesting to see if the NYSE jumps today. Day traders are probably salivating.

Cycling Violence

Following up on the critical mass story of a few days ago a deep operative sent a link to this video - Official violence against cyclists. Its not for the squeamish.

Addendum: We just learned on Democracy Now that the officer involved in this assault had his badge taken. The officer had also arrested the cyclist for assault.

Obama and McCain - Economy Attention

The article is interesting in that the McCain campaign levels complaints at Obama. They are opposed to Obama's interest in removing the Bush tax cuts. The McCain campaign then remarkably fails to mention that former McCain economic adviser Gramm, was intimately responsible for removing the regulations that paved the way for the sub prime mortgage disaster. With that negative mark on McCain's ability to select economic advisers, one might not take his campaign attacks on Obama's economic ideas with much authority, value, or worth.

Reuters: Obama, Bernanke discuss U.S. economic risks
"The two men agreed that Washington must restore confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a way that protects the taxpayer and our financial system, and that we must reform and modernize our regulatory structure to avoid these problems in the future and protect average Americans..."

Bouncing Oil

Reuters: As oil nears 20 percent "bear" market, bulls unfazed
The 16 percent slump since its record-high close of $145.18 a barrel on July 14 could yet deepen to $100 a barrel, many analysts say, but equally many remain convinced that another surge to as-yet unconquered peaks may lie just months ahead.

Lang Lang

Lang Lang plays Schumann

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Seattle Apology to Critical Mass

We've been following the story about the critical mass gone wrong/attack in Seattle. This is the latest.



She's in the Amy Winehouse garden, with that dramatic 60's retro sound. I suspect she has modeled some singing inflections after Winehouse minus the virtuosic blues embellishments. That's how it works. Somebody gets big and leads the way, others jump on the train. The song itself doesn't catch me but, it does interest me.

Red New York

CNN: New York money woes to bring spending cuts
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city would prepare for the gloomy forecast by cutting spending 5.6 percent and delaying some capital outlays.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in his own report released Monday that Wall Street, which drives the city's economy, lost a record $11.7 billion in 2007 and another $22.4 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

Board member Jeffrey Halis, president of Tyndall Management, projected health coverage for retired city workers to reach more than $85 billion by fiscal year 2012.
No matter which way you turn, health care costs in the USA strangle the economy. Besides sub prime mortgage fiascoes and a virtually non existent energy plan when we really need one with value, health care is sinking us. We need a better system.

Gaza Militants

A Little Hope Experimental Alzheimer's drug shows early promise
For the first time, an experimental drug shows promise for halting the progression of Alzheimer's disease by breaking up the protein tangles that clog victims' brains.

The drug, called Rember, is being developed by TauRx Therapeutics of Singapore.

GOP Shocker (Yawn)

The fumigation continues and right on schedule for November.

The man is 84. After years of public service and power wielding, he comes to believe his own inner dialogue. He starts thinking he deserves more for his service and status. He thinks of himself as a king. He takes matters into his own hands. He screws up royally.

Age old story number 51 has a new cast.

Oh yes, one last thing - he's a Republican and at this point in time, this is what Republicans do. Sen. Stevens indicted: 7 false statements counts
From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said, the 84-year-old senator concealed "his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation."

The indictment unsealed Tuesday says the items included: home improvements to his vacation home in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring; as well as a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools. He also was accused of failing to report swapping an old Ford for a new Land Rover to be driven by one of his children.
For Senator Stevens -

VP Under Wraps

Posting on who Obama picks for his VP feels like writing about what I might get for a birthday present. Its going to affect you, you try to influence the choice, what you end up getting is what you get. There's a lot of excitement, but that's all it is.

You can return a gift, we probably will still vote for Obama. This is where the metaphor falls apart.

In most respects, its a moot point. He picks who he picks. All we hope is that the choice is not so left field that it messes with his chances. I suspect that is not going to happen. His campaign seems to be very well choreographed.

Reuters: Obama meets on No. 2 pick: Kaine? Biden? Bayh?
With the clock ticking on his hunt for a running mate, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent nearly three hours on Monday meeting with his vice presidential search team and campaign advisers.

The Washington Post reported Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has had “very serious” talks about joining the ticket, according to sources close to Kaine. Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh are also being seriously vetted for the job, the Post said.

The Democratic convention opens on Aug. 25.

Iraqi Forces Hunt Al Qaeda

Gulf News: Iraq begins crackdown on Al Qaida-linked militants
Iraqi forces began a major crackdown on Al Qaida-linked insurgents and militias in the northeastern Diyala province on Tuesday, officials said.
The article provides a clue to yesterday's horrendous suicide bombings-
Al Qaida has increasingly used female suicide bombers because they are less likely to be as thoroughly searched.

Merril Lynch Write Down

Consider other firms if you are connected with M.L.

The Michael Nyman Band


Nyman composes for film - recall 'The Piano' and 'The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover' and many many more.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Oil, Gold, Hedge Funds

Reuters: Hedge funds sell oil as ratio to gold narrows
One aspect of the relationship is that the price of a barrel of oil is seen by some to be in equilibrium with gold when it is at a ratio of 10 barrels to one ounce.

Another Possible Obama VP

Politico: Kaine 'very, very high' on VP shortlist
As Senator Barack Obama turns to the choice of his running mate, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has emerged as one of the campaign’s potential finalists...

The 50-year-old Virginia governor is among a handful of logical, and much-discussed, choices to join Obama on the campaign trail. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn and Delaware Senator Joe Biden are among others frequently mentioned.
From Tim Kaine's .gov website -

Official Site of the Governor of Virginia
During Governor Kaine’s tenure, Virginia has been recognized as the most business-friendly state in American ( 2006 and 2007; CNBC 2007), the top-performing state government in America (Governing Magazine 2008) and the state where “a child is most likely to have a successful life (Education Week 2007).”

Seattle Critical Mass Violence Follow Up

From a deep operative -

This story is very important to me because I like to ride. Its a daily thing with me. How cyclists are treated and viewed is relevant. If America was a tad wiser, there would be more bikes out there, in many more cities.

The Seattle Times: Why did violence erupt at Critical Mass ride in Seattle?
According to Jamieson, witnesses told officers that as the Critical Mass group moved down the street blocking traffic, some riders got in the way of the Subaru and prevented it from leaving. Some bikers sat on the car and were banging on it, he said.

"The driver was pretty fearful that he was about to be assaulted by the bicyclists," Jamieson said.

According to police, the man tried to back up but bumped into a cyclist. "This enraged the group," Jamieson said.

Several of the cyclists bashed up the Subaru, shattering the windshield and rear window, Jamieson said.

The driver, whose name and age were not released, tried to drive away but hit another bicyclist, Jamieson said. Still, he drove about a block, to Aloha and 15th Avenue East, before the Critical Mass riders cornered the car and started spitting on it and banging against it, Jamieson said.

One bicyclist punched the driver through his open window, and another used a knife to slash the Subaru's tires, Jamieson said.

The driver got out of his car, was hit in the back of the head and suffered a large gash, police said.

The driver was taken to a hospital. His injuries were not life-threatening, Jamieson said, and his girlfriend wasn't hurt. The bicyclists didn't suffer any serious injuries, Jamieson said.
Then there is the side of the bikers -
..some riders who said they were in the Critical Mass ride characterized the Subaru driver as the aggressor. They said the driver was impatient about waiting for the huge group of riders and yelled that he was late for a reservation.

Ryan McElroy, 25, of Bellevue, was riding with the group and witnessed the incident. Later, he said that the driver was under no threat from the bicyclists when he drove into them.

"He snapped. He deliberately hit the gas," McElroy said. The driver accelerated into two cyclists, pushing one of them across the street and under the car, and then ran the left front tire of his car over the cyclist's leg, he said.

Tom Braun, 36, of Seattle, said the Subaru ran over his right leg. His bicycle was damaged beyond repair, he said, and he ended up in the emergency room. He suffered no broken bones, and was released, but is being monitored for possible internal injuries.

Braun said he first saw the driver of the Subaru "screaming at cyclists to get out of the way."

Some cyclists were explaining that everyone was nearly past, but the driver yelled about being late for an appointment, and drove directly into the crowd of cyclists, he said.

The front right side of the car struck Braun and dragged him along with his bike as he hung onto the front of the car, he said.

Then the driver ran over his leg and bike, and sped down Aloha, he said.


St. Lawrence String Quartet

Fannie and Freddie Summation Article

From a deep operative -

The author gets into the meat and potatoes of these two giant mortgage lenders failings and offers a four part plan that the tax payer needs to demand in return for our bailout. This would include new management and limiting the executive compensation.

Center for Economic and Policy Research: Statement on the Bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The collapse of the housing bubble, however, has created extraordinary circumstances where even prime mortgages are going bad at very high rates. As many mortgages in former bubble markets sink further underwater, Fannie and Freddie now own or guarantee mortgages on homes that will lose in the neighborhood of 50 percent of their value.

The failure of the economists and managers at these institutions to recognize the housing bubble earlier has proven enormously costly to the United States and the world economy. The conditions of any bailout should protect the public from further losses by holding management accountable for their irresponsibility, reining in executive pay and creating reasonable standards for future lending.

Bush Breaks the Record

Reuters: White House sees record budget gap in 2009
The Bush administration on Monday projected the U.S. budget deficit will soar to a new record of nearly half a trillion dollars in fiscal 2009 as a housing-led economic slowdown cuts into government revenues.


Trigger Happy TV

Gallup Poll 7/24-7/26

Gallup: Gallup Daily: Obama 49%, McCain 40%

Just yesterday, Gallup had Obama 48% to McCain at 41%.

McCain Attack Flavor of the Week

We expect to see attacks leveled at Obama.

The right is twisting in its skin, seething with contempt, and flinging its essential righteousness. We expect that, this is the nature of American politics and this is the nature of the conservative right.

After all, isn't McCain the sort of candidate that gets you all worked up and you say to yourself, the man is destined to be our next greatest leader. Who wouldn't work to see that end come about.

I feel for McCain. He is the political equivalent of a musical comeback by Duran Duran in 2008 - excellent in its time, but at this point...

Politico: McCain takes aim at Obama’s character
In a year when polls show an easy victory for a generic Democratic candidate, McCain has until now been loathe to employ the tack many strategists see as essential and which anonymous e-mailers and commenters with no apparent links to his campaign have been practicing since last summer: hitting Obama not on his record or his platform, but on his values and person.
Photo by Cindy Sherman

Iraq Violence 7-28-08 Spate of suicide attacks in Iraq kill at least 51
Three women bombers blew themselves up on Monday in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, one of a string of attacks in Iraq that killed at least 51 people, undermining hopes of a drop in violence.

Instanbul Carnage

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alzheimer Protection

OK, pay attention to this article. This is important. I don't want any of you old guys, like me, and gals getting this disease. Exercise for cripes sake, its not going to hurt you.

Reuters: Fitness protects brain in Alzheimer's patients
People in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease who are more physically fit had less shrinkage in areas of the brain that are important for memory, researchers said on Sunday.

Fitness and exercise have been shown to slow age-related changes in the brain in healthy people. The latest finding suggests people with early Alzheimer's disease may still benefit (from exercise).

Apollo Astronaut on Aliens

I love it when the "natural order" is jolted by a solid respected member of the establishment. By establishment, I mean the unconscious mythological fabric that tethers a narrow and limited self defined view of our social and cultural understanding.

I don't know anything about aliens, so I listen to him strictly with open interest.

This man believes in aliens and he believes they are among us.

Another Terrorist Attack on Sunday Explosions strike Istanbul, killing 13
Istanbul's governor says 13 people have been killed in a "terror attack" on a residential neighborhood in the city.

Gov. Muammer Guler says some 70 people were also injured by two explosions Sunday in the working class Gungoren neighborhood.

A witness said the two explosions were about 10 minutes apart. Many people were injured in the second after they rushed to the area to help people following the first blast.

The Thompson Twins

One (or two) hit 80s wonders, but an excellent hit -

1,000,000th Sex Shop Customer

Trigger Happy TV

Obama's VP Strategy

Politico: Obama not basing VP pick on geography
“I think the most important thing, from my perspective, is somebody who can help me govern..."

“Hillary Clinton would be on anybody’s short list,” he said. “She is one of the most effective, intelligent, courageous leaders that we have in the Democratic Party. … I would love to have Bill Clinton campaigning for me.”
I bet he picks Clinton, and I say that with 60% certainty.

Iran Hangs 29 People

Another Shooting

We are reading this a little over two hours after the incident occurred.

The shooting happens in a Unitarian Church. I have several close friends that belong to the Unitarian Church and its shocking to see this happen. These people are generally very aware and very socially conscious and concerned. Not knowing the details, the shooter like all shooters, is mentally unstable.

CNN: Gunman critically wounds 7 in Tennessee church
Seven people were shot and critically wounded Sunday at a Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tennessee, authorities said.

Police have arrested a suspect in the attack, which occurred about 10 a.m. ET at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, said Capt. Brent Seymour, a Knoxville Fire Department spokesman.

Moblie Web Coming at You

BBC: Boom times ahead for mobile web
The world of mobile internet devices is set to explode in the next four years says chip maker Intel.

Research carried out for the company suggests portable net-enabled devices will grow to 1.2 billion by 2012 as the need to be connected increases.

Analysts are watching how Intel competes in the mobile sector where it lags far behind firms such as Arm which dominates the market for chips in handsets.
Looking slightly deeper here is Arm.
At least 90 ARM processors are shipped every second – more than any other 32-bit processor IP supplier. ARM licenses its technology to more than 200 world-leading semiconductor companies.
Arm at Business Week

Latest Gallup and Rasmussen Polls

Gallup: Gallup Daily: Obama Retains Lead, 48% to 41%
Barack Obama has stretched his lead over John McCain among national registered voters to seven percentage points, 48% to 41%, in Gallup Poll Daily tracking conducted July 23-25.
Rasmussen: Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Barack Obama attracts 46% of the vote while John McCain earns 41%. When "leaners" are included, it’s Obama 49% and McCain 44%.

Rasmussen Markets data gives Obama a 63.2 % chance of winning the White House.

Housing Rescue Bill


Robin Williams

Support for Those Facing Foreclosure

How could this happen - legislation that can benefit ordinary Americans.

Ah yes in the final moments of Bush's scorched earth presidency, he agrees to one piece of legislation that helps the non elite people of America AKA the rest of us.

I believe the answer lies less in the intention to benefit and much more in the final highlighted section below.

Politico: Landmark mortgage bill clears Congress
Treasury will gain unprecedented power to lend money to and even purchase an equity interest in the two mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, over the next 17 months. At the same time, the Federal Housing Administration is granted $300 billion in new loan guarantee authority in hopes that the FHA can help establish a new floor for home prices and be a source of refinancing for households at risk of foreclosure.

The very scope of the bill — the largest of its kind in at least a generation— underscores the huge importance of the housing crisis in today’s fragile economy. But the legislation remains very much a roll of the dice, and even supporters are uncertain how the markets will respond to the greatly expanded government role.
The answer is the markets. The markets are tanking. Small, medium, large, grand, teentsy, and giddy investors are losing value in their portfolios. The markets have reacted positively to every single piece of good news in the face of staggering bad economic news over the past 7 months.

As much as this legislation costs, the profits from an improved market will offset it.

I believe the core of this legislation is an intention to significantly slow the decline of the market - simple as that. The vote is cast on Saturday because it is the closest they could come to enacting legislation for this coming Monday's opening of the exchange.

The people who are facing foreclosure are vehicles for a practically unanimous plea to the markets to turn around and start a new growth trend.


1945 - virtuosic

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Red State on Obama Overseas

Cyclists Revenge

Critical Mass is a bicycling group. They do have a political message, cyclists' rights and the promotion of more cycling, but in this case things got out of control.

Apparently a couple of the cyclists got hit by a car, deliberately or not, its not clear. So a group of the non injured cyclists took off after the offending driver and car. Long story short - lots of vehicular damage and personal injury.

This is very troubling because once again it smacks of gang violence.

Tip Toe Through The Tulips 1929

Nick Lucas performs the 5Ts.


Gulf News: Iran to hang 30 people for murder, smuggling
Iran plans to execute 30 people in Tehran on Sunday for murder, drug smuggling and other crimes, according to media reports on Saturday.

Iran usually carries out executions in prison, by hanging.

Amnesty International in April listed Iran as the world's
second most prolific executioner last year, with at least 317 people put to death.
The worlds most prolific executioner is China.

The USA is high up on the list of countries that execute people.

Take a look at the top executioners: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and the USA -not in any particular order .

Its interesting to note that in this essential point of justice, the USA joins the company of the countries that one would hear excoriated on a regular basis by militant rightists, neo-cons, and Limbaugh ditto heads.

From the point of view of justice and the death penalty, the USA is on equal footing with some of the worst regimes in the world, regimes that many regard as our enemy. We share the same moral ideologies surrounding the death penalty. Interesting thing to note, is it not.

The Vectrix Electric Maxiscooter

Honda Soars - Its the Moped

The article throws up a red flag because the world economy is slumping yet Honda is posting record sales. How can that be? Gas is more expensive all over.

NYT: Honda Posts Record Profit on Sales in New Markets
Demand for Honda products is booming in Asia, Brazil and other new markets, making up for declines in vehicle sales in the United States, Europe and Japan, it said.
Honda on the New York Stock Exchange

According to MSN Money, Honda stock is regarded as a hold, meaning that if you own it - don't sell it, but don't buy it if you don't own it.

One of the reasons why Honda is profitably succeeding has to do with Honda's motorcycle sales.

Honda surprises with profit growth in first quarter
Motorcycle sales, on the other hand, jumped 20.5% on a sharp increase in Asia and Brazil.
It gets even better. Besides making motorcycles, Honda also makes mopeds.

Now its making sense. The moped can get wicked good miles per gallon upwards and into the 90 mpg range. That is a lot of mileage compared to an over sized SUV.

Moped and Scooter Reviews
Mopeds and Scooters may become very popular in the coming years with gas prices rising and oil supplies decreasing around the world. Why not own a small gas powered moped/scooter for those around town trips or short commutes? The 49cc mopeds are ideal with 80-90 miles per gallon in fuel economy and they go almost 40 MPH. The nicer scooters are about $1200-$1500, but you can find cheaper mopeds for $600.
I'm going to go out on a short limb here but Honda succeeds because it is heavily invested in making small two wheel vehicles. The mopeds get amazing mileage and the cost is ridiculously low. The thing of it is, America has to adapt to higher gas prices. Admittedly we are going to see a small decrease at the pump because the price of oil has decreased to around $125 per barrel. Eventually that cut from around $145 per barrel will show up at the gas pump. We doubt that is something that will last for years to come.

Regardless its hard to imagine America running around in a moped but its something to consider. I could learn to like it. I wouldn't want to take a moped out on a highway, but definitely I would take it on city streets and around town, the kind of roads with 30 and 40 mile per hour speed limits.

Honda Mopeds and Scooters

Finally, you will like this, there are prototype Honda electric scooters. Electric Scooter

The Forgotten War Surge

Holding the Sun

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not Fade Away

Just read that Jagger turns 65! Are we ready to see the Stones with Jagger at age 70?

The United States of Foreclosure

The numbers are depressingly gaudy, 220,000 foreclosures in the second quarter.

There was the story about the woman who committed suicide in order to get insurance money for her family to stave off foreclosure on their house. What do we make of this?

CNN: Foreclosure filings up 120%
...220,000 homes were lost to bank repossessions in the second quarter... of every 171 U.S. households received a filing, which include notices of default, auction sale notices and bank repossessions.

The Dark Side

This is too good.

I got this over at the excellent Crooks and Liars website. Its one of those clips that needs to be highly circulated. Please send it around.

Jane Mayer discusses her book "The Dark Side" with Letterman. Yikes, talk about steady opinion poll decline, embarrassment, and justice. The White House saw vivid deep red during this segment.

Pretty Knees

I know many female athletes, and one in particular who is prone to knee injury.

Reuters: Special warm-up prevents knee injury: U.S report
Women who completed the Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance, or PEP, program were 1.7 times less likely to have anterior cruciate ligament injuries, the researchers reported.

The program, a rigorous series of running, jumps and stretches, is neuromuscular and aimed at strengthening the muscles and ligaments in and around the knee.

Neo Con

One initial comment: The term neocon is ridiculous. There is nothing new here. This is an age old militant and imperialistic approach to foreign policy. We don't have to look too far into the past to find numerous examples of this foreign policy. Attila the Hun comes to mind, for example. No this is not a neo-con, this is a retro-con.
The movement which traces its lineage to the most whacked out right wing crazies that could possibly emerge from WWII, is back in the news.

The President who had his strings pulled regularly by the neocons, is now an object of their derision. Some thanks huh - after all how many other policy disinterested presidents can you expect. OK, maybe that's a bad question.

The Jewish Daily: Neocons Lash Out at White House for Diplomatic Overtures to Iran
The Bush administration’s recent diplomatic overtures toward Iran have unleashed a torrent of criticism from neoconservatives and have fueled concerns in Israel that Washington is shelving the option of using military force against Tehran’s nuclear facilities.
Yes sir, if its not war, its not neocon.

Rising From The Dead

The way its been going, this news might only be good for a couple of hours. Stocks surge on 2 upbeat economic reports
Stocks are surging higher after a double dose of good economic news. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index has come in higher than expected, and the Commerce Department also delivered a better than anticipated report on June home sales.

Flanders Recorder Quartet in Concert

I posted a recorder concerto by Vivaldi the other day. I really liked the sound, its very pleasing in my opinion. So, more recorder, I got to have more recorder...

Gang Violence in Norway

Gang violence is a terrible thing. Its like a great degrading virus that is infecting people all over the world.

We read about Russian gangs who were going after immigrants for allegedly taking away jobs. There's always an excuse.

On Democracy Now, we heard about a group of white kids in Pennsylvania killing a Mexican immigrant.

Clearly the problem is wide and extensive. Sorry to say, but America seems to be leading the trend and demonstrating how its done.

I believe that gang violence is a vicious act of terrorism. This is the intent, right? The intention is to instill fear and make people go away, leave the community. If we are in the midst of such sentiment, such fear of terrorism, then how come gang violence is not viewed as a terrorist act.

Yahoo: 23 wounded in Norway refugee centre attack
Twenty-three people were wounded when a gang of 40-50 men armed with steel bars and machetes attacked residents at a refugee centre in Norway late on Thursday, officials said on Friday.

Asian Markets Fall on Subprime Mortgage Exposure

Torture and Intent

Have you seen this article?

CNN: Previously secret torture memo released
"Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture," Jay Bybee, then the assistant attorney general, wrote in the memo.

The 18-page memo is heavily redacted, with 10 of its 18 pages completely blacked out and only a few paragraphs legible on the others.

Another memo released Thursday advises that "the waterboard," or simulated drowning, does "not violate the Torture Statute."
My initial reaction is both anger and the reiteration of the understanding that under Bush, the US has truly degenerated.

This is a disgrace. The idea here is that if you think that what you are doing is not bad then its all ok. This is the legal wordplay these brilliant wordsmiths invented.

They are making a case for giving legal abstinence from criminality for any intentions. Simply state that your intentions were pure and you can waterboard, sodomize, electrocute, and beat anyone. Simple as that.

Exactly which wires have become disconnected to produce such sickening sycophantic thought.

I'm reading this thing with my jaw open. The arrogance for and dismissive attitude towards fundamental moral blocks of open and democratic principles is criminal. I am convinced, these jokers belong in jail. The so called legal experts that threw this crap on the ceiling demand disbarment. Kick these jokers out, revoke their collective citizenship. Set them adrift far from civilization.

Obama in Berlin

How about Obama speaking in Berlin - Wow. I thought it was spectacular.

He makes me realize how much I like articulate leaders. His message is clear as a bell and the level of intelligence is very strong and sharp.

Obama took the rap that he lacks foreign policy experience or what ever it was that he allegedly lacks, and he spoke to the world on this recent trip. And the world responded with admiration and excitement.

This was a masterful piece of political campaigning. He takes the criticism and instead of shrinking from it, he went global and demonstrated without a doubt, that the can rally the people of the world. He can charm and inspire.

With appreciation for America brought to unseen lows with Bush, how could we even possibly entertain the notion that we need someone to continue with Bush's regressive policies. The neo-conservatives got their big shot and they could only do it with secrecy, subterfuge, dirty tricks, spin, and malice. Most Americans still don't know what hit them.

Can we think of any leader that has so inspired in very recent times. He's got the special thing. Obama is it.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another College Shooting

This trend must stop immediately. This is horrible. There are too many guns in the hands of violent people. Young people are acting out violence scenarios in about as thoughtless a way as one can possibly act out.

What's the deal here? Can we try to cultivate something positive in the human character as opposed to cultivating the worst.

All the people involved including the shooter and the victims must now deal with very harsh circumstances for a long long time. So once again, one moment of complete disregard yields a lifetime of sorrow. This is what happens with violence. Arrest made in Phoenix community college shooting
A man shot three people Thursday in a computer room at a Phoenix community college, injuring two of them critically, authorities said. The gunman fled but a suspect was arrested nearby.

McCain Gains in Key States

You know, I don't drink, but I could learn. What is ticking in the mind of the average American. All that you need to know about McCain is right there - connections, advisers, policy choices, and future war interests. Somehow when you add all that up, people think its good.

WaPo: McCain Makes Significant Gains in Key Battleground States
Republican John McCain has quickly closed the gap between himself and Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama in several key battleground states even as the Arizona senator struggles to break through the wall-to-wall coverage of Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East this week.

National polling suggests Obama retains a steady but statistically significant edge. In the most recent Washington Post/ABC News survey, Obama held a 50 percent to 42 margin over McCain; in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, released last night, Obama leads 47 percent to 41.

Home Sales at 10 Year Low

Reuters: Home sales at 10-year low, jobless claims jump
Jobless claims jumped and the pace of existing home sales tumbled to a 10-year low as slowing growth hit hiring and a glut of unsold houses weighed on real estate, data released on Thursday showed.

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped 34,000 last week, the Labor Department said, in part reflecting seasonal volatility typical at this time of year, but also indicating that jobs were hard to find.


From a deep operative - 'Koop Island Blues'

Soy and Sperm

Tofu on trial -

This is true. In fact, certain monks in certain unnamed cultures, ate soy in order to reduce their sexual desire.

Being Italian, I appear to be geneticaly immune to this particular peccadillo. I eat tofu once in a while and desire is still there although at 55 it is somewhat "modified."

BBC: Soy foods 'reduce sperm numbers'
A regular diet of even modest amounts of food containing soy may halve sperm concentrations, suggest scientists.

The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, found 41 million fewer sperm per millilitre of semen after just one portion every two days.

Rain Away

If you live in upstate NY you are experiencing rain, a lot of rain.

It feels like I live in a rain forest. The plants like it, we are all a little soggy, and anyone with a leaky basement is up to their ankles in water. Ours is dry thank you.

We are getting two kinds of rain precipitation, it rains moderately or its a downpour. I like it, especially the downpours with lightning.

Today's forecast is rain.

Oil Prices Drop

Tokyo Stocks Gain

Here in NY we get to see the stock trends in Asia for Tursday on Wednesday night - so go time zones.

Right now its looking like the drop in oil prices is going to continue a little bit more and consequently many stocks will gain. But as we know this could radically change very fast.

We are still expecting to see more insolvent banks come forward, so we are told. Will oil hold at present levels? I would bet no, but hopefully the rises will be a bit slower and more proportionate. Tokyo stocks gain on falling oil prices, easing credit worries
Since rebounding Tuesday, Tokyo stocks have been gathering steam, helped by the continued drop in New York crude oil futures and easing credit worries, following the U.S. House of Representatives' approval Wednesday of a rescue plan for troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Dolly Damage in Texas

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Olberman on McCain

Online Banking Caution

If you bank online check out this article.

Yahoo: Study: Online banking possibly dicier than assumed
University of Michigan researchers...found design flaws in 76 percent of the 214 U.S. financial institution Web sites they studied.

One of the biggest problems: Even if the login boxes on banks' pages are properly secured — meaning they send and receive encrypted data through a technology known as Secure Sockets Layer — if the full page itself isn't protected with the same technology, it's more difficult to tell whether the site is real or fake.

Obama in Israel

Support Our Troops

Michael Parenti speaks truth to power. The information is a few years old but the context and intent are clear as a bell.

Foreclosure Help - NACA

If you know someone in need of help, holding off a foreclosure, check this out. Thousands queue to save homes in Washington
Thousands of people, mostly blacks and Hispanics, lined up outside a Washington hotel Wednesday, clutching documents they hoped would help them save their homes and escape unaffordable mortgages.

Initially, NACA worked to get Americans with limited resources -- again often minorities -- onto the homeownership ladder.

Today, it has pledges worth 10 billion dollars from big US banks, primarily Bank of America and Citigroup, which allow the non-profit to put together loans that help tens of thousands of less-than-affluent Americans buy a home or keep one they are in danger of losing.

Vivaldi Recorder Concerto

Completely charming and masterfully performed -

Short Reprieve

At present there is a short reprieve in the stock market. The price of oil is presently down $20. Stocks are gaining as investors concerns about inflation relax as oil prices lower.

This appears to be the way that the slowdown/recession will be experienced - periods of gain with sporadic positive announcements and stability with the price of oil followed by steeper losses as the effects of the sub prime mortgage crisis and the effects of ongoing inflation reappear.

Reuters: Oil's sharp fall pushes stocks to 3-wk peak
U.S. crude is now down more than $20 after hitting a record above $147 a barrel and fanning inflation concerns.

"As the oil price comes down the rest of the market will take that as a relief. But it is only a relief, don't be fooled ... That in itself does not solve the underlying problems of a slowdown."

Also helping sentiment, second-quarter corporate results from both sides of the Atlantic are proving to be not as disastrous as some had expected.

Reacting to Civilian Bombing Deaths in Afghanistan

NYT: Civilian Risks Curbing Strikes in Afghan War
...American and allied commanders said that even as orders for air attacks in Afghanistan had increased significantly this year, their ability to strike top insurgent leaders from the air was severely restricted by rules intended to minimize civilian casualties.

The rules that govern dropping bombs and firing missiles are far more restrictive now in Afghanistan than in Iraq...

The rules of engagement were reviewed and tightened in 2007 after a spate of civilian casualties...

According to the United Nations, 698 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year, compared with 430 in the same period last year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lewis Black

Its a repost, its still funny.

Vanity Fair Counters

Another Bail Out

We saw Lewis Black in concert recently.

He was going on and on about Bear Sterns and exactly who was to blame.

Lewis talks about how the poor, people that can't even pay rent, are offered mortgages to buy a house. Lewis correctly points out that given the opportunity and being in the same financial situation, who wouldn't take the offer. Is that being stupid.

Regardless, we have another situation where the little people on the eviction and foreclosure end of the sub prime mortgage disaster are left on their own.

The Feds will bail out Fannie and Freddie, taxpayers will get the bill. Many of the taxpayers will have lost their homes to the predatory lending practices of the unscrupulous.

Imagine, you loose your home to foreclosure. The loan was designed to conceal its flaws, probably a continuous stream of arms that raise your payments. Now you are in an apartment paying taxes and guess what. Your taxes are going to bail out the lending institutions that concealed the downside of your mortgage. Welcome to America.

Reuters: Fannie, Freddie rescue gets big price tag as House vote looms
A Bush administration plan to support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost U.S. taxpayers $25 billion, congressional analysts said on Tuesday in a report that fueled debate as Congress took steps to approve a housing market rescue package.

Stocks Rallied

CNN: Stocks stage late-day rally
U.S. stocks staged a late-day rally Tuesday, with the Dow closing up 135 points, as falling oil prices overshadowed grim quarterly financial reports.
Clearly homework needs to be done. The connection between stocks and oil cannot be this obvious and direct. More forces must come into play.

If you read the article you get the sense that investors see the news that barrels of oil are dropping in price and then they immediately start battling to buy. The DOW goes up.

Is Bush a Failure?

Michael Parenti has the ability to reveal what is right under our noses.

Parenti explains "Bush's Failures."

The video is not complete, when I can find the rest I will post it.

Another McCain Adviser Controversy

People say that with McCain we know what we are getting.

Yes, this is true. McCain adviser paid by controversial businessman
The payments by Texas businessman Stephen Payne to McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann, ending in 2006, were largely for lobbying Congress and executive branch agencies on energy issues, according to records filed with the Senate.

McCain's presidential campaign says that Scheunemann did not lobby McCain on any issue relating to Payne, who is caught up in a controversy over whether he sought to sell White House access to a prospective business client.


The sub prime mortgage disaster continues and continues and continues... Wall Street to tumble on disappointing results
Wall Street looked to open sharply lower Tuesday after dismal quarterly results from Wachovia Corp. and other blue chips heightened concerns about corporate results amid the ongoing credit crisis.

Wachovia, the nation's fourth-largest bank, racked up an $8.9 billion loss because of charges and reserves for bad mortgage loans.

Obama Talks with Former Insurgents

The talk is that Obama is completely dominating the news with his visits to Afghanistan and Iraq.

McCain allegedly is suggesting that he will pick his VP this week. This may be true, but it is being done to divert attention away from Obama. The VP talk may only be a diversion. Such is politics and with the advisers that McCain is using, we expect dirty tricks 24/7.

With Maliki stating that he supports Obama's troop withdrawal plan, the Democratic nominee is looking better and better.

Now Obama is meeting with former insurgents. This creates the sense that he is completely involved in Iraq. We cannot imagine Bush doing the same. We get the sense that Bush is running the war/occupation on remote control.

Already with these visits, Obama appears to be way ahead in the Iraq and Afghanistan foreign policy comparison with either Bush or McCain. There is the idea that Obama is a nuts and bolts leader getting right into the fray.

The comparison leaves Bush literally in the dust and demonstrates what a real leader can do. America has not had a true leader in the past 8 years. Bush's deficiencies are only magnified with Obama's presence. Obama visits former insurgent hotbed in Iraq
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama traveled to a former hotbed of the Sunni insurgency on Tuesday for talks with tribal leaders who joined the fight against al-Qaida in Iraq and now seek a deeper role in Iraq's political future.

Koya Moments

Time lapse film with the music of Phil Glass

Monday, July 21, 2008

The British Recession

The British get it as well.

Guardian UK: 80% fear we are heading for recession - ICM poll overwhelming majority of voters think Britain is heading into recession. As a result, 60% are trying to spend less, with clothes and fuel costs heading the list of cutbacks.

Pakistan Gets Anxious

According to this article there are two problems that are arising with Pakistan.

First the increase in military deaths in Afghanistan in the recent past is partly being attributed to Taliban fighters crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Pakistan is not doing much to stop it.

The second problem is that the money that the US sends to Pakistan to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda is not being used for that purpose. This doesn't seem all that unusual considering the"successes" such previous efforts have produced.

Obama approves of the US going into Pakistan on "actionable intelligence" on the Taliban. He also supports cooperation with Pakistan in this effort.

NYT: Unilateral Action by U.S. a Growing Fear in Pakistan
A spike in deaths of United States and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan in the last two months has been largely attributed by American officials to the flow of Pakistani Taliban into southern Afghanistan.

The Bush administration has given more than $10 billion in military aid to Pakistan since 9/11, when President Musharraf agreed to become an ally in the campaign against terrorism. Of that amount, $5.5 billion was specifically intended for counterinsurgency efforts by the Pakistani Army. A Congressional report this year said that Pakistan did not spend the $5.5 billion on counterinsurgency, and that the Bush administration had failed to insist that it do so.

Gitmo Trial Alert

This alert just came through. What does it mean, one can only wonder. Are highly coercive interrogations that same as torture. If they are, this is stunning news. Judge at Guantanamo war crimes trial bars evidence from 'highly coercive' interrogations

Obama in Iraq

Obama is being well received. The Iraqis have wanted us out for a long time now. Its almost unthinkable that we are still in Iraq, still unthinkable that shock and awe began. Iraq rolls out the red carpet for Obama
Mr Obama has vowed to remove US combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of becoming president if he is elected. The Illinois senator met Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and US commanders during a key stop on his week-long tour of the Middle East and Europe aimed at shoring up his foreign policy credentials.

First Gitmo War Crimes Trial Begin

Reuters: First U.S. war crimes trial starts at Guantanamo
Osama bin Laden's driver went on trial at Guantanamo on Monday in the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two, nearly seven years after the September 11 attacks prompted U.S. President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism.

Racist Attacks in Russia

British Prime Minister on Palestine

X-Files is Back

I liked the show. When we owned a TV, it was the only show I intentionally watched.

Yahoo: Anderson: Reprising Scully character was 'odd'
Anderson reunites with co-star David Duchovny for "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," the second feature film spun off from the paranormal series.

The movie will be in theaters July 25.

Crystal Ball

Two late Sunday articles might indicate the direction of the markets this week.

First, oil is up and stocks may likely go the other way.

Second, Paulson is talking about more bank insolvency, lots of banks. We know this is coming but investors seem to react badly when its made public and clear.

I think the gains from last Thursday and Friday are mostly reversed, but I could be wrong. We shall see.

Reuters: Oil up over $1 on Iran talks, Mexico Gulf storm
Oil rose towards $130 a barrel on Monday after its biggest one-week slide on record as inconclusive talks between Iran and world powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme dimmed prospects of ending the row.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Paulson Speaks on the Economy

Look its this simple. If even a member of the Bush administration, an administration extremely well known for its secrecy, obfuscation, spin, and outright lies, is warning about the months to come regarding our banking system, then get out the chest high waders. The crap waters are getting deeper.

One thing we have noticed over the past 7 months or so since the sub prime mortgage worldwide disaster really hit the fan, is that all elite predictions have erred on the side of extreme optimism. In other words if Paulson says its bad, then its a disaster - searching for a word that is a step or two back from apocalyptic.

Also we know all too well that Bush is working in reverse - expect nothing there.

CNN: Paulson braces public for months of tough times
Paulson said the number of troubled banks will increase as they struggle to cope with big losses on bad mortgages

"Of course the list is going to grow longer given the stresses we have in the marketplace, given the housing correction. But again, it's a safe banking system, a sound banking system. Our regulators are on top of it. This is a very manageable situation," he said in broadcast interviews.

Solid Words from the Pope

We may or may not be interested in organized religions. Regardless the Pope does the world a solid and speaks truthful words on his visit down under.

I see it like this, let's have much less greed and materialism, and much more generosity and selflessness.

NYT: Pope, Ending Australia Visit, Criticizes Materialism
“...a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair..."

"...what was ostensibly promoted as human ingenuity soon manifests itself as folly, greed and selfish exploitation.”

“Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division...of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises.”

Saggy and Baggy

Let's see stricter law enforcement of jay walking, graffiti, and thunderously loud boom cars. Communities that have done this, have reduced crime.

Yahoo: It's the law: No sagging pants in Chicago suburb the south Chicago suburb of Lynwood. Village leaders have passed an ordinance that would levy $25 fines against anyone showing three inches or more of their underwear in public.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the ordinance targets young men of color.

1920's Footage

There is a brief sequence on the new female. There is the notion that 1920's dress and hairstyle makes it hard to distinguish women from men.

Corporate vs Consumer Tech

In the present economic climate, tech companies that service the corporate world are fairing better than those that are based in consumer sales.

Reuters: Tech earnings diverge as economy weakens
International Business Machines Corp...impressed investors by easily beating quarterly profit expectations and raising 2008 forecasts...

In contrast, Microsoft Corp missed estimates amid concern about its online business and the economy, while Google Inc also disappointed. The Web leader told investors it was operating under "uncertain economic conditions" after a weaker-than-expected 35 percent quarterly profit increase.

Companies the size of IBM could fare better in a weakening economy than smaller rivals, analysts said, as customers pare back the number of vendors to focus on those deemed most resilient to an economic slowdown.