Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve 2008

We just got pounded with another snow storm. Its actually rather beautiful, I am one of those people who more or less likes the snow. Its the day after the storm actually, when the sky is clear blue and the sun is brilliant, that's my favorite day.

Wall Street gave the year a going away present with a 108 point bump and the S&P cracked 900. Thank the new years baby and basically the good faith of a few investors, because faith is all they are working with at this time.

We are going out tonight so this will be my last post for 2008.

Its been a helluva year, I wouldn't wish it on anybody, cripes.

We have lots to rehash and because we are Americans, we have virtually nothing to learn from history. That would be too simple, we need to re-live monumental dufusism ad infinitum.

Speaking of dufus, President Dufus must have started packing his bags by now. Its takes a lot of stuff to fill the White House, and we hear there's rooms full of garbage bags stuffed with 20s and 100s left over from billions lost in Iraq and bailout money for friends and lovers. Just a little coffee money to tide ya over.

Anyhow, have a safe night, go out, or sleep, or watch the ball drop, but especially be safe.


Israeli Footage Of War On Hamas

CNN: Teen Suicide Bomber

The Market On New Years Eve

On New Years Eve and with futures mixed, the market is poised to be as volatile as ever today. Bottomline - the DOW closes somewhere in the 8000s and it will take some time before the massive devaluation starts reversing.

What can we say, we are in the midst of the worst recession in our lifetime.

I read one optimistic Reuters report last night, where a noted investor was saying that 6 to 8 months prior to the releasing of data that is at long last positive, the market starts climbing. The implication was that January could see some reversal of fortune.

Hey, anything to help lift the mood.

Still a new bloody Middle East Israeli - Palestinian War is shaping up. Israel is poised to begin a ground offensive into the Gaza where they will proceed to flatten the countryside and many Palestinians. The world seems to feel this is just fine. We suspect this will not be the end of that conflict no matter how many Palestinians are killed, and no matter how much of the Gaza is annihilated.

So we are about to begin a new year while 1.5 million people are being warred on. Regardless of how you feel about who is justified and who is not justified in this conflict, remember that all parties are human beings and they suffer from the same fear and pain that we experience. Also, this is war, which is the cruelest of the cruel. The images of people weeping over the lifeless body of their 4 year old daughter are real and profoundly disturbing.

Reuters: Stock index futures mixed ahead of last 2008 session
Stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street on Wednesday, ahead of the last trading session of what has been a torrid year for stock markets worldwide.

"Spiral Staircase"

Kings of Leon

Very retro, decent band - not their best song, but one of the only one's available on youtube.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My daughter introduced me to this show, its got its humorous moments.

The testees work at Testico, they test out new products including various drugs.

Virginity Pledge

America is the land of sexual miscreants. There I said it.

You can see any kind of porno any instant on the web, most main stream TV shows have tons of skin, but its all just window dressing.

Basically most people are sexually screwed up. There I said it. We live in a virtual sex nation and that's criminal.

The heady blend of Puritanism, conservatism, Catholicism, repression over generations, and pop culture makes for dysfunction of a magnitude that defies understanding.

Taking a virginity pledge is utter nonsense. Parents that push their kids into this kind of thing need serious counseling and $500 in sex toys for each other.

You can't play the guitar with 1 hour of practice, you can't expect any kind of understanding about sex with no attention. Its just the opposite, we need more sex ed, more discussion, more inclusiveness, everybody gets in on the f###ing act.

CNN: Virginity pledges don't mean much, study says
According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don't take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.

Dr. Richard Daines - NY State Commissioner of Health

On the proposed "Fat Tax" for New York State -

CNN: Animating Karl Marx

The Market On Tuesday

A series of economic reports are scheduled to come out today.

The news will be bleak but the serious and professional analyst will parse the data with a microscope seeking signs of life.

Allegedly the DOW is sticking in the 8,000s and the S&P in the 800s because of the promise of federal bailout schemes to come.

Meanwhile the fourth day of the endless Israeli - Palestinian War continues unabated. Calls for a cease fire are being rejected by Israel. The sense is that this newest war will continue with intensity and with harsh reprisals to come.

Reuters: Stock index futures point to rebound ahead of data
Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, reversing the previous session's dip, while investors braced for a reading of consumer confidence for insight on the extent of the damage from the economic downturn

"The Heart of Life"

John Mayer

Monday, December 29, 2008

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

The Nikkei is about to post its worst year since its inception over 50 years ago. Wall Street will post its second worst year since the Great Depression. We do have two days to go, so the record is still a possibility, but not likely right now.

2008 was a nightmare for investors everywhere. Warren Buffet was able to beat the average drop of 40% with Berkshire Hathaway dropping a mere 30 something percent.

Most everyone I know has lost 60% of the value of their investments.

Well we made it through a tough year, one hard ball recession it is. We still mercifully are getting rid of Bush. There may be a recession but our political capital is increasing.

Reuters: Nikkei edges up as resource shares gain, but top-heavy
"Everyone's pinning their hopes on economic stimulus policies by the United States and possibly China, which is keeping the market supported for now," said Shinkin's Yamashita.

"But people aren't watching things like company results as closely as they should be. We can't say for sure that the market's bottomed out until we see these next spring."


The DOW dropped 32 points to 8,484 today, while the S&P dropped 3.38 to 869.42. The market is operating like a contrary child, futures were up this morning but futures be damned. The whole thing closes down.

Oil prices are rising as a result of the latest Israel Pummels Palestine War.

After reading a report from the United States Army War College that military action may be required in the event of an economic catastrophe, I'm still happy I recently moved but its a little scary.

We got plenty of war, economic collapse, and plans for war as a result of economic collapse, all we need now is an outbreak of some god awful disease. Seriously, what the hell is going on.

Reuters: Crisis impact spreads
The U.S. S&P 500 benchmark was down more than 40 percent with two trading days left in 2008. Its biggest yearly drop was in 1931 when it fell 47.1 percent.


The fallout has hit all sectors from banks to autos to commodities and resources. Unemployment has climbed, house prices have plummeted and cash-strapped consumers have curtailed spending, heaping more pressure on companies.

Diamond Suicides

The Market On Monday

Futures are up indicating a possible lift to the market at the opening.

The market has been so volatile that this scenario is no longer a guarantee.

It appears that the new assault on the Gaza now in its third day - Israel mounts third day of Gaza raids - is adding to a lift in oil prices. There's something rather disturbing that this particular misery will add to investors of energy stocks worldwide. Such is our world economy.

Generally the sentiment is simply to get this year behind us, finally and mercifully get rid of Bush, and move forward with our new president as he attempts to bolster the economy and create jobs. America is still the world's largest economy and the world will be looking to the US for indications when the recession eases, some say in six months, others say much longer.

Reuters: Stock index futures point to gains; focus on oil
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Monday, as a jump in oil prices could buoy energy shares, but volumes were expected to remain thin with few investors at work between the Christmas and New Year breaks.

Ginsberg and Kissinger

A recently declassified conversation between Alan Ginsberg, poet, and Henry Kissinger on April 23, 1971.

They are working to set up a meeting to talk about an end to the Vietnam War.

I have copied and pasted from the pdf file with a little editing, the spelling was atrocious.
E.0. 12958, Sect. 3.6
Alan Ginsberg/~r.
7:50 p. m. , April 23, 1971

Ginsberg - I am calling at the request partly of Senator McCarthy. Senator McCarthy told me to, call you. My idea is to arrange a conversation between yourself, Helms, and maybe even Nixon with Rennie Davis, Dillinger and Abernathy. It can be done at any time. They were willing to show their peaceableness and perhaps you don't know how to get out of the war and who by private meeting --

Kissinger - I have been meeting with many members representing peace groups but what I find is that they have always then rushed right out and given the contents of the meeting to the press. But I like to do this, not just for the enlightenment of the people I talk to but to at least give me a feel of what concerned people think. I would be prepared to meet in principle on a private basis.

Ginsberg - That's true but it is a question of personal delicacy. In dealing with human consciousness, it is difficult to set limits.

Kissinger - You can't set limits to human consciousness but --

Ginsberg - We can try to come to some kind of understanding.

Kissinger - You can set limits to what you say publicly.

Ginsberg - It would be even more funny to do it on television.

Kissinger - What?

Ginsberg - It would be even more useful if we could do it naked on television.

Kissinger - It might be too but under some kind of circumstances.

Ginsberg - What shall I tell them that would be encouraging?

Kissinger - That I would think about it very seriously.

Ginsberg - Good deal.

Kissinger - I will call Senator McCarthy. I am leaving town for a conference that I have had scheduled for some time but I will be back on Monday. When did you intend to do this?

Ginsberg - During the May Day Meetings in Washington. They will be lobbying and they could meet with you. May 2 or 3.

7: 50 p. m., April 23, 1971 -- page 2

Kissinger - May 2nd or 3rd. Damn it ! I would like to do it in principle but ---

Ginsberg - It is a good principle.

Kissinger - Now wait a minute. I don't know about those dates, I may not be in town. If not, we can do it at some other reasonable date.

Ginsberg - I gather you don't know how to get out of the war.

Kissinger - I thought we did but we are always interested in hearing other views.

Ginsberg - If you see Helms, ask him if he has begun meditating yet.

Kissinger - [About what. ]

Ginsberg - . . . . . . . . . . on the opium market . . . . . . Long Chin (spelled phonetically).
He promised to meditate one hour a day. I still have to teach him how to hold his back straight.

Kissinger - How do I reach you?

Ginsberg - City Lights, San Francisco.

Kissinger - Where are you calling from?

Ginsberg - Sacramento, California -- I just gave a talk on gay liberation (?) to
the students here, and I am going to San Francisco to join the march the re. I will be at the following number - -

Kissinger - I won't be able to call you, I am leaving town. How can I reach you after Monday ?

Ginsberg - I will be there until June 15th.

Kissinger - You are not coming here?

Ginsberg - If I were needed, I could arrange --

Kissinger - No, no - - I will call McCarthy.

Ginsberg - Talk to him, I will try to arrange a private meeting. It would be good to talk to the Army too, you know the war people and the anti-war people.

7:50 p. m. , April 23, 1971 -- page 3

K: It is barely conceivable that there are people who like war.

G: They might have some ideas, they have been to Hanoi.

K: I will call McCarthy. If we can set it up on a basis of --

G: You may have to subject yourself to prayer.

K: That is a private matter that is permissible.

G: Of course.

K: Okay, I will call McCarthy.

"Lawyers, Guns and Money"

Warren Zevon

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sol LeWitt at MoMA

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

Japan's Nikkei index opened lower on Monday trading.

The year is puttering out with a whimper, no end of year rally to mention.

The news that Nissan is planning to build large-capacity lithium ion batteries supported by a $1.1 billion investment is interesting in that one must assume they have large plans for hybrids hopefully beyond the existing Altima which does not get amazing mileage, good but not amazing.

Reuters: Nikkei down 0.2 pct, insurers surge on merger talks
Japan's Nikkei average fell 0.2 percent on Monday, the last full trading day of the year...

NEC Corp surged 7.1 percent to 271 yen after the Nikkei business daily said it and Nissan Motor Co plan to invest 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) or more to manufacture large-capacity lithium ion batteries.

Arab Response To Gaza Bombing

The Gulf News seems to me to be a conservative Muslim voice in the Middle East. I believe it is based in Dubai, UAE.

I was curious to see how the Arab world was responding to the bombing of the Gaza. There are protests, there is a lot of outrage, and people are very upset in the Arab world.

Gulf News: Region boils in anger
Dubai Protesters burned Israeli and American flags on Sunday in several Arab countries and demanded a stronger response from their leaders to Israel's attacks on Gaza.

"America and the Zionists are the leaders of world terrorism," read a placard held by protesters at the UN headquarters in the Lebanese capital Beirut. Similar protests were held in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Yemen, Cairo and Damascus.

Israel Bombs The Gaza - Day Two

Its looking like this is going to get really ugly for a while.

The cycle will eventually return to a period of slightly more calm only to be followed by more intense violence.

I did a search to try to identify the world's longest war and found this interesting diagnosis of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We are the deadly bottom part of a vicious cycle that seems to have an endless supply of energy that will last for centuries.
The 58-year Arab-Israeli conflict is but the latest manifestation of what may be called the world's longest war - a 2,500-year struggle between the world of Europe and the world of Western Asia, the region now called the Middle East. The struggle began in the late 6th century B.C. when the Persian Empire demanded the submission of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and it reached its first climax in the 480s when Xerxes, the "Great King" of Persia, invaded Greece with an enormous army. Greece survived, winning two crucial battles. source
Reuters: Israel pounds Gaza for second day
Israel destroyed Hamas's main Gaza security complex in an air strike on Sunday and prepared for a possible invasion of the territory after killing more than 280 Palestinians in the first 24 hours of a powerful offensive.

"The Fight Song"

Ane Brun - four stars **** - Sande

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stimulus Obamus

Where is this money coming from?


- one billion divided by one million is one thousand

- one hundred billion divided by one million is one hundred thousand

- six hundred billion divided by three million is two hundred thousand

If the idea here is create three million jobs, it is going to cost roughly two hundred thousand dollars to create each job. Someone explain to me why spending $600Billion to create 3 million jobs is a good idea. This is the equivalent of paying 3 million people 30K a year for almost 7 years.

Who gets the money, who gets hired, who does the selections, and exactly what work is done.

Reuters: Biden says deal near on stimulus plan
The incoming Obama administration is nearing agreement with congressional Democrats on a huge emergency spending bill intended to jolt the weak U.S. economy and create 3 million jobs over two years, Vice President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

Israel Bombs The Gaza

This is just terrible.

The last thing we want to see is an escalation to the never ending Israel - Palestinian conflict.

The amount of writing, analysis, mental energy of some of the world's best minds, good will, and simple desire for peace have amounted to nothing. The sum total of all efforts at creating harmony in this case is flushed with this latest attack.

What will be the outcome, we've seen it repeated ad nauseum - suicide attacks, reprisals, assassinations, attempts at reconciliation, and tons of misery, and misery upon misery.

The political system involved that allegedly works to secure a semblance of peace is worthless.

Everybody has answers for this thing, but it all amounts to whistling into a typhoon.

I am completely bummed.

Reuters: Israel attacks Gaza, more than 155 reported killed
Black smoke billowed over Gaza City, where the dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground after more than 30 air strikes destroyed Palestinian security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits.

A Little Extra

The things people will sell for money -

This story is incredibly ripe with emotional tension.

There's the husband, probably furious, depressed, embarrassed, jealous, angry, confused, heartbroken, and more.

There's the wife, holding a dreaded secret and probably feeling guilty, there's the money necessity which drives her decision to turn to degrading prostitution, her marriage loss, possibly her confusion about how to be resourceful, loss of individuality, anger, confusion.

Then, the husband finds his wife in the brothel, so he is also probably a regular customer. So there's his own willingness to "share" while in a marriage.

Then there are the relationships between the wife's customers and the husband. He has to hear from his male friends about his wife.

Its actually an endless cycle of vicissitudes, each individual internally, between the couple, individually in connection to their immediate social network, and the chatter that goes on within the social network itself - the gossip, and now vis-a-vis the story how we in the world relate to the events.

The curious thing is the journalist wrote a very brief description almost as if it were some kind of Henny Youngman joke when in fact it is laden with pain. So the writing of the story itself conveys a network of assumptions and meanings.

Reuters: "What are you doing here?": man asks wife at brothel
A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees.

The couple, married for 14 years, are now divorcing...

"The Christmas Song"

Nat King Cole

Friday, December 26, 2008


Welcome back!

We are in our new home. I think I shed a year or two of my life from the stress of selling one house, moving into and buying another.

We tried our best to have the transition be as sane as possible but life got in the way. We had delays, changes, deadlines, false starts, great hesitation, and a good dose of pressure and angst.

I miss the days when one packed Oldsmobile 88 which belonged to a former girlfriend was all that was required for me to move into a new flat.

My advice to anyone leaving one house and moving into another is to get rid of the junk. Thin the pile down by a half and then some.

We had a nice team of professionals helping us from the agent to the lawyer. All parties were fair and helpful and for this part we were grateful.

We are living in suburbia. The boom cars, car alarms, and din of the traffic are gone. It is fundamentally quiet here. This is astounding to me.

We heard the worst crime was a mountain lion that came into town. This isn't really a crime though, its more of a misstep.

This is long overdue, move, its good, its stressful but its good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Closed Till December 26


We are in the process of moving, yes we are single handed supporting the American housing market!

Anyhow I have no internet connection due to a phone company screw up, no surprise there.

So I have to cease operations till Friday the 26th.

Anyhow, no Santa bounce to the market today, maybe tomorrow, hope springs eternal.

I wish everyone the very best of holidays. We've had a bouncy year, but, we are getting rid of Bush. This alone is a great present.

Please come back on Friday, probably late Friday, and we can resume the discourse.

my best


This is a devastating article.

It traces elements of the very tragic fact that slavery is bigger than ever. This is not only sexual slavery where children are forced into degradation but also hard labor where people spend generations working off debts of a few dollars. A World Enslaved By E. Benjamin Skinner
But the deal isn’t done. Benavil leans in close. “This is a rather delicate question. Is this someone you want as just a worker? Or also someone who will be a ‘partner’? You understand what I mean?”

You don’t blink at being asked if you want the child for sex. “I mean, is it possible to have someone that could be both?”

As many as 17,500 new slaves continue to enter bondage in the United States every year.

Every single man, woman, and child in Lohagara Dhal is a slave. But, in theory at least, Garg neither bought nor owns them. They are working off debts, which, for many, started at less than $10. But interest accrues at over 100 percent annually here. Most of the debts span at least two generations, though they have no legal standing under modern Indian law. They are a fiction that Garg constructs through fraud and maintains through violence. The seed of Gonoo’s slavery, for instance, was a loan of 62 cents. In 1958, his grandfather borrowed that amount from the owner of a farm where he worked. Three generations and three slavemasters later, Gonoo’s family remains in bondage.
The Project To End Human Trafficking

Stop Human Trafficking

"Rebel Rebel"

Bowie - live

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

Right now the possibility of a "Santa" rally seems better, as Asian markets are up.

Update: Asia stocks up
Asia stocks edge up, Seoul hits 6-wk high
Earlier in the day, the financial section of Reuters had predicted that the Nikkei would open lower for the very same reason - the Bush auto bailout.

As we have seen many times before, financial journalists get it wrong often.

Its still important to remember that doom and gloom headlines sell.

Reuters: Nikkei up 0.2 pct after U.S. autos bailout
Japan's Nikkei average rose 0.2 percent on Monday, amid relief after U.S. President George W. Bush bailed out U.S. automakers with $17.4 billion in emergency loans.

CNN: New Species Discovery

One that even secretes cyanide -

Sex Sin

A Florida Church is planning to tell its congregation about the "sins" of a former member.

The sins are that she is in a relationship but not married. She is having sex outside of marriage.

Have we made any progress in our essential understanding and compassion?

Cheney On Fox

CNN: Bailout Explained

In Memory Of Paul

We just found out that another very close friend passed away this morning.

We have all had a tough year collectively and individually.

We can all count on the fact that everything changes. You can't point to anything that stays exactly the same.

This friend was an accomplished musician and worked as a music teacher in some tough schools, very tough. He also spent part of his career working in writing and recording music for children and was well known in this field.

He leaves behind an accomplished family of artists and out spoken people.

So we part with our friend in the midst of a huge snowstorm blanketing our area, but we are a hearty bunch and we will pull together.

Must Read NY Times Article

Please read the linked NYT article.

It very clearly points a huge finger at the Bush administration for the mortgage fiasco.

If you are angry with Mr. Bush - this is not going to help.

Its a lengthy article -

NY Times: White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire
But his (Bush's) housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

And he pushed to allow first-time buyers to qualify for federally insured mortgages with no money down. Republican Congressional leaders and some housing advocates balked, arguing that homeowners with no stake in their investments would be more prone to walk away, as Mr. West did. Many economic experts, including some in the White House, now share that view.

Coming Up On Wall Street

Three points to consider for the upcoming week on Wall Street -

First, historically there has been a rally on Wall Street during the final days of the year, a Santa rally. People like traditions and with stocks priced at "bargain basement" prices this is a distinct possibility.

Second, investors are starting to get their minds wrapped around the severity of the recession and they are simultaneously seeing that measures are being formulated to spark the economy. Investors are still trying to get a sense of the bottom, and so far there has been a tiny price recovery since November 20 when everything fell through the floor. The question remains, was November 20 the bottom.

Third, there is more data coming out this week on housing. Housing is a key indicator and the direction of the recession will be very clear. Unfortunately improving will not be on the menu, but slowing down the downward trend might be.

On a personal note, we are trying our best, we are buying a new house this week, so recession be damned.

Reuters: Stocks hope Santa can brighten dark year
Santa's appearance has been good for an average 1.5 percent gain since 1969, according to the Almanac, while a failure to see such a rally tends to precede times in which stocks can be purchased later in the year at much lower prices.

Optimism over President-elect Barack Obama's proposed stimulus plan has added to the more positive tone, helping the market rally in the face of an onslaught of dire economic and corporate outlooks.

"Dude Looks Like A Lady"


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Olberman On Franken and More

Carol Chomsky Dies Carol Chomsky; at 78; Harvard language professor was wife of MIT linguist
"She was a very upbeat, happy kind of a person," said Sylvia Schatz of Burlington, who is Dr. Chomsky's sister-in-law. "She was also a very giving person, of herself and of her thoughts, of her ideas, of her suggestions. And she was very generous, both in material things and with her support and help in many ways."

The Warning

Abuses of the Bush Administration - new movie trailer


Saudi Arabia executed another prisoner making it 97 on the year.

In the USA 37 prisoner executions have occurred in 2008 up through December 5th. Thirty six were executed by lethal injection and one person James Earl Reed was executed by electrocution in South Carolina.

Gulf News: Saudi man beheaded for murdering father
The Saudi man was executed in the southwestern region of Asir. He is the 97th person to be executed in Saudi Arabia this year.

5.5 Percent

Good time to get into a new mortgage rate and/or buy a house if you have the money. Rates are at or below 5.5%

The word is that it may go down to 4.5%, when that happens - refi.

Reuters: Record low mortgage rates toss housing a lifeline
The average 30-year U.S. mortgage fell more than 1/4 point in the week ended December 18, to 5.19 percent, the lowest since Freddie Mac started its weekly survey 37 years ago.

It was the seventh straight weekly decline and brought rates down from about 6-1/2 percent in October.

More On The Afghanistan Surge

We like Obama but the certainty of the decision to escalate in Afghanistan is questionable.

Yahoo: Afghanistan could see 30,000 new US troops
...only improvements in Afghanistan's governance and economic situation will affect the strength of the insurgency.
UK Telegraph: More than two thirds of people in Britain believe that UK troops should leave Afghanistan within a year, a poll has found.

Comment On Obama's Weekly

As I listen to Obama's weekly address on youtube, posted below, and I just have to shake my head.

How severely have we missed having an intelligent person in the White House. Obama is addressing the issues with very good smarts and here he is talking about the role of science and promoting science with highly qualified people.

Just one example - recall Bush, the doofus in chief, attempting to place a veterinarian in charge of women's health, my god.

We have had a doofus for eight years and I shutter to think that we could very well get another doofus in the White House with a Palin type of candidate, and all of this in spite of the fact that their really are well qualified candidates.

Obama - Weekly Address

Second Hand

We are aware of many adjustments that people are making in a great recession.

Little things change, we are reading about higher sales of spam, pawnbrokers doing greater business, and now the article explores the rise of second hand shops.

It all makes sense. If you are broke, you still need food, clothing, and shelter.

Somewhere out there is a recession entrepreneur. This person is establishing stores that cater to all of these needs. I've noticed more dollar stores as well.

Reuters: Americans sell possessions, buy used to cut costs
These days, when manager Trish Dollard shows up to work at a children's second-hand store, parents are waiting outside hoping to exchange their used toys, clothes and baby gear for a little extra cash.

Schumann Symphonic Etudes Part 1 of 5

Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hardball: Democratic Aristocracy

CNN: Bad Year For Republicans


We are up to our jaw bones in snow.


The world has turned white, with white highlights.

I like white, its a good color, stands for purification, clarity, the totality, good things.

I was never partial to the white as virgin imagery. In this case - black is best.


AL Franken Gaining

The implications that this recount are suggesting makes one reflect on how flawed the voting process is in America.

The duration and the mini psychodramas between these two camps are absurd.

America can get it right if there is a large margin of victory, but the close election is a train wreck.

A tragic aspect of all this is recalling how Gore did win it all in 2000. A recount at the presidential level seems far more important.

Yahoo: Franken opens first lead in Minn. Senate race
The change was notable because Coleman led Franken in election night returns and also held a 188-vote lead before the board took up challenged ballots. But its significance was limited, with the possibility the lead could change again before the long recount ends.

Cheney Is The Law

VP Cheney, boy are we going to miss you, just like that last root canal.

We knew Cheney was above the law, of course, but we didn't realize he was the law.

Foolish minions...

AP: Cheney claims power to decide his public records
"The vice president (Cheney) alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records, how his records will be created, maintained, managed and disposed, and are all actions that are committed to his discretion by law..."

The 1978 Presidential Records Act requires all presidential and vice presidential records to be transferred to the National Archives immediately...

$13.4 Billion To Automakers

Barring an attack, this is the news of the day.

This is prolonging the misery but Wall Street will like it.

CNN: Feds to lend $13.4 billion to automakers

The Market On Friday

Timing is everything.

President Bush will very shortly report on the Big Three plan.

The talk is of a planned bankruptcy but a loan seems to be the message. How the market will react is unknown, but the timing would seem to indicate that the intent is to affect the market in a positive way. Futures seem to indicate it could be a mixed day and the hope would be for a minor swing at the worst. There still is a sense that the drastic volatility has calmed a bit.

Reuters: Stock futures trim losses, autos announcement due
Stock index futures trimmed losses on Friday, and the S&P 500 futures briefly turned positive after news that President George W. Bush will make an announcement on a rescue plan for ailing automakers at 9 a.m..

Catburger Or Hot-dog

Cat, dog, and yes vole are popular foods in parts of Asia.

One man's diet is another country's reality show that makes people eat unusual things.

Yahoo: Pet lovers protest cats on the menu in China
Dogs taste much better, but if you really want cat meat, I can have it delivered by tomorrow," said the butcher, who gave only her surname, Huang.

"Only The Lonely"

Roy Orbison circa 1960

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

The DOW and S&P both skid downhill Thursday. I was surprised that the DOW lost over 200 points especially when the past few weeks have been less turbulent.

Its also surprising to see oil prices dropping again. How is this explained? OPEC cuts production to increase demand and this is done to elevate the price. Yet prices are drifting down.

It would be interesting to have access to the elite insider information which apparently runs the show and runs it counter to public information.

No surprise hear with Toyota slipping except that this is their first loss since their inception. So this should alert anyone to the severity of the recession.

Following the Fed, The Bank of Japan is poised to announce an interest rate change. Odds are it will not be a rate increase.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 1.1 percent as Toyota slips, BOJ awaited

Franken Minus Two

There is an irony in here.

Coleman's camp challenged a series of votes today. Most of those votes went into the Franken column.

Coulter claims that the election is being stolen by Franken, but where in this particular scenario is anything like that happening. Coleman's lead down to 2 votes in Minn. canvass
Coleman had entered Thursday's session leading Franken by 360 votes. But that lead eroded all day as the board considered a pile of challenges brought entirely by the Coleman campaign.

Ritter On Cheney's Iraq Assertions

Longtime anti-Iraq war activist and former weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter adds to the body of his reporting about the war.

Ritter has been dead on about the Iraq war from the very beginning and he hear demonstrably refutes Cheney's recent televised claims.

Guardian: Dick Cheney's fantasy world
While one can make the argument that Saddam had the people, insofar as the scientists who had participated in the WMD programmes of the 1980s were still in Iraq and, in many cases, still employed by the government, these human resources were irrelevant without either the industrial infrastructure, the economic base or the political direction needed to produce WMD. None of these existed.

Invading Iraq and removing Saddam, the glue that held that nation together as a secular entity, was the worst action the US could have undertaken for the people of Iraq, the Middle East as a whole and indeed the entire world.

Obama - SEC Choice

CNN: News Of The Absurd

Shaking It Up At The SEC

Obama has the right idea.

We need to replace the cold corpses over at the Securities and Exchange Commission with something warmer and more - alive as in beings, human or otherwise, that possess attention spans and at least minimum intelligence.

Talk about asleep at the wheel - I'm sure anyone reading this could have performed any job at SEC as well as anybody there now. It doesn't take much to call in sick 50% of the time and then play video games on the job the other 40% of the time. Hey we need an open 10% for potty and coffee breaks.

Reuters: Obama picks new head of SEC, considers shakeup

The Market On Thursday

Unfortunately, the recession did not abate overnight, and here we were hoping it might go away.

No such luck, and this holiday season more and more families are facing economic hardships with layoff gathering strength along with a markedly depressed Wall Street and hints of deflation.

We are shrinking, like the wicked witch.

Futures are mixed and the differences are slight, the hope would be that if there is a drop today that it will be minor and not the 200 point or more variety. We always accept the gains.

At this time we can still point to a certain depressed stability to the market. We are holding on the third floor of a ten story building.

Reuters: Wall Street futures mixed
Stock futures for the Dow Jones industrial average are up 0.6 percent and for the S&P 500 up 0.3 percent; Nasdaq 100 futures indicated down 1 percent.

Initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, expected to fall to 558,000 from 573,000, and the Philadelphia Fed business outlook index at 1500, are the main macro events.

"Big Country"

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

After closely following the futures and Nikkei reports from Reuters, I fully and completely believe that the financial journalists are making it up as they go. They are flying by the seat of their collective pants, skirts, garters, and thongs. Completely unnecessary to say thong, but its such a charged word.

This very morning - Wednesday - the word was that the Fed interest rate removal was passe and at that time investors feared the worst, the return to economic Armageddon.

Now Wednesday night, the Nikkei is up allegedly because of the Fed interest rate removal.

You can't have it both ways and you can't change after the dye is cast, thong or not. If investors are over the Fed interest rate removal and futures are down, fine, but don't resurrect it to explain why the Nikkei is up.

Reuters: Nikkei edges up as banks gain, Honda and Sanyo drop
The Nikkei average rose 0.7 percent on Thursday, as bank shares sustained gains after a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, though Honda Motor slashing its profit forecasts in its third warning this year.


We fully expect Obama to create a stimulus package of this magnitude. Its a done deal. We hope that transparency will be an essential aspect of the program.

In the meantime, the article and the expression of this sentiment alone will help keep the market floating at its present stable numbers with the DOW in the high 8000s, and the S&P around 900. This is our holiday gift.

Investors love hearing this kind of news and the emotional charge keeps the mechanism buoyant, unfortunately we are stuck at floor level 3 in a 10 story building.

Yahoo: Obama looking at $850 billion jolt to the economy
Anxious to jolt the economy back to life, President-elect Barack Obama appears to be zeroing in on a stimulus package of about $850 billion, dwarfing last spring's tax rebates and rivaling drastic government actions to fight the Great Depression.

CNN: Obama Picks Another Republican

So how about picking a progressive-liberal for something - dishwasher? cartoonist?

Anything But

One man's cake is another man's poison.

Hannity sets the conservative world on fire.

The only problem I have with this is the labeling, calling it all, conservative. I don't see these people as "conservatives." The word conservative has a far more sensible and intelligent quality to it, where is this demonstrated in the conservative party.

The word has been unfairly and incorrectly co-opted by this group. Call it what it is...

Media Matters: Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Misinformer of the Year
Hannity's "Stop Obama Express" promoted and embellished a vast array of misleading attacks and false claims about Obama. Along the way, he uncritically adopted and promoted countless Republican talking points and played host to numerous credibility-challenged smear artists who painted Obama as a dangerous radical.


OMG!! I absolutely love the wording of this article.

OPEC is going to "rescue" oil prices. That's right - rescue.

Who are they going to rescue oil prices from - you, yes you, you ungrateful ingrate.

Yes indeed, the poor folks in OPEC see the revenues tailing off by what - oh maybe a few percentage points, so horror of horrors, time to make demand outweigh supply. Its got to hurt when the dollar bill spigot stops pouring out millions each hour and starts giving you chump change instead. They are scaling back on the solid gold toilets and have settled for gold plated, poor babies.

The tap stops here. Check back as soon as gas tops $4 per gallon - and see you real soon.

Reuters: OPEC makes deepest oil cut ever to rescue prices
OPEC oil ministers agreed their deepest output cut ever on Wednesday, slashing 2.2 million barrels per day from oil markets in a race to balance supply with rapidly crumbling demand for fuel.

The New Team

The Times has put together a page with Obama's cabinet and high profile position picks with photos and background information.

This is the best compilation I have seen.

NY Times: The New Team

The Market On Wednesday

Boy that was fast.

The day after the Fed removes any remaining interest issues, futures are down and investors are now upset at the state of the economy.

These guys are more fickle and emotional than....

The S&P in the 800s and the DOW in the 8000s - can anybody see anything different. OK maybe it drops lower than 8s, but higher? If it does go higher, it sure is not staying there long.

Reuters: Stock futures fall as Fed enthusiasm wanes
Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday as initial enthusiasm over the Federal Reserve's interest rate cut faded and investors focused on the dismal economic outlook.

Chris Matthews Confronts Neocon Gaffney

"Garota de Ipanema"

Joao Gilberto and Caetano Veloso

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Asian markets don't always follow the Wall Street lead, but today they will. With the Fed cutting rates to a hair width, investors are feasting.

One small point of interest - the S&P 500 reached an all time high of approximately 1600 in the Fall of 2007. Ten year earlier, and the salient word is ten, the S&P hit its at that time all time high of 900 in 1997. Eleven year later the S&P closed, today, at 913.

This could be a very long recovery.

Reuters: Nikkei rises 1.1 percent on Fed rate cut
The Nikkei average rose 1.1 percent on Wednesday, with banking stocks among the biggest gainers after the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed borrowing costs to a record low...

CNN: Making Bucks From Youtube

Stabilized Or Getting Ready To Sink

The DOW closed on an upswing today nearly at 9000, and the S&P also closed on an upswing at 913.

The big deal was the Fed cutting the interest rate to .25%, and Goldman's losses not being nearly as deep as investors had feared.

The DOW closing at close to 9000 seems to be a monthly event. Everybody wants to see these numbers stick but why would they. With the experts repeating the mantra that things will get worse before they get better, this translates into getting ready to take a deep dive. Let's hope they are wrong and hope seems to be playing a role in the economy.

Reuters: Stocks soar after Fed rate cut
Stocks rallied on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve rewrote its playbook by slashing borrowing costs to a record low, even zero, and pledging more unconventional steps to fight the deepest recession in generations.

First Solar

Its no surprise that companies involved with solar energy are also adversely affected by the recession. Yet the business keeps evolving. First Solar a is relatively new and formidable manufacturer of solar panels.

Check out First Solar
This goal has driven First Solar to become one of the fastest growing manufacturers of solar modules in the world. First Solar FS Series 2 PV Modules represent the latest advancements in solar module technology, and are rapidly driving the cost of solar electricity to rates comparable with traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources.
On the NYSE - FSLR

Solar Buzz - Portal to the world of solar energy.

Shoe Thrower News

CNN - Madoff Fraud

The Market On Tuesday

The S&P closed yesterday at 868 losing 11 points.

Futures are up this morning. Futures along with an expected interest rate cut by the Fed would indicate that the market could get a little boost today, but these are "volatile" times.

We have seen all scenarios lately with futures up and the market heading south, futures down and the market ends higher.

One thing we know is that Wall Street likes to have the government throw money at it, so any proposals in that direction might create some gains.

It would seem that more and more economic scenarios are known by investors and as a result the market is attempting to stabilize itself based on the world eventually pulling out of the recession. We assume investors are nervous about this shaky stability because the future seems to only hold very bad news with unemployment continuing to rise and profitability continuing to sink.

Reuters: Stock index futures rise
Stock index futures rose on Tuesday as investors awaited an expected interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve and signs of how the U.S. central bank plans to fight the year-long recession
Reuters: Rate cut expected as Fed mulls emergency tools
Economists expect the central bank to lower its target for benchmark overnight rates by at least a half-percentage point, to 0.5 percent, and clearly state it will aggressively use unconventional measures to restore growth.

"Crazy Man Crazy"

Bill Haley and his Comets

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

The Japanese are experiencing the recession in a similar way to Americans with households struggling to make ends meet, unemployment, and decreased productivity.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.7 pct after rally, Fed decision eyed
The Nikkei average fell 0.7 percent on Tuesday as investors locked in recent gains ahead of an interest rate decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve, while Honda Motor and other exporters were hurt by a firmer yen.
Reuters: Japan economy increasingly stagnating

Gun Sales Are Down Overall

This article caught my attention.

Remember when we heard that people were buying up guns when Obama got elected.

Turns out Smith and Wesson is posting great losses similar to most companies which are experiencing losses through this recession. Yes, job losses have occurred at Smith and Wesson.

Shotgun sales are way down, however hand gun sales are up a bit. Could it be that the Obama fear directed people more towards handguns.

One other point, Smith and Wesson is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Massachusetts is often placed in the same league as Vermont as a very "blue" state. This alone in my opinion challenges the notion of red versus blue state culture.

Reuters: Smith & Wesson posts loss, sees weakness in hunting
Sales of hunting rifles fell 41 percent in the quarter...

...quarterly U.S. revolver sales rose 13 percent on a year ago.

Ray McGovern - Obama and Russia

CNN - Pentagon Cuts


The George Bush shoe incident has set off a display of glee in the Arab world.

Arabs blame Bush for a great deal of the misery enacted on the Middle East especially in Iraq.

Its interesting to note that as Bush promoted shock and awe initially saying that Americans would be greeted as liberators, he leaves office with a far different presentation other than flowers.

In with the flower, and out with the shoe - we suspect the flowers may be in the same universe as the WMD.

By the way, what kind of shoes were they - leather uppers and leather soles, perhaps? Across Mideast, Arabs hail shoe-hurling journalist
So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush personally for what they see as a litany of crimes—chief among them the turmoil in Iraq and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths since the 2003 U.S. invasion.


Another sign of the recession is the fact that pawn shops are picking up business.

This would go along with the obvious rise in unemployment, the devaluation of the stock market, the decrease in home values in many areas, and the uptick in homelessness.

Recently I had to see an oral surgeon and he expressed to me that business was down, people were not getting the tooth implants and such.

And you know things are tight when the sale of spam increases.

Reuters: Americans rich and poor pawn more to pay bills

The Market On Monday

On Monday investors are allegedly awaiting news on the Big Three bailout, a scheduled Fed meeting where interest rates probably will be lowered .5 or .75 percent, and recent business reports from large banking firms.

Throwing up a guess here, there will be monies for the Big Three, there will be an interest rate cut, and the banking news will be bad. The last item is not a guess.

Regardless, futures are down, and how the market will respond throughout the day is unclear. Throwing up another guess, the DOW will probably hang around the 8500 mark. It been staying relatively calm and fluctuating around this number for a period.

Worst case scenario the DOW drops 200 points, best case it gains 50 points, maybe.

Reuters: Stock index futures point to drop at open
On the macro side, Japan reported its sharpest drop in business sentiment in three decades on Monday and industrial output in China grew at its slowest pace since 1999, the latest signs of the damage done to Asian economies by the global crisis.

Solar Energy News

A site that announces solar energy news in North America.

Solar energy news would be, for example, a solar panel maker landing a decent contract.

San Francisco, CA, USA: SunRun Secures Up to $105M for 2,000 Residential PV Systems. SunRun, a distributed residential solar electricity provider, has received an initial tax equity commitment from an affiliate of U.S. Bancorp as part of the financing for up to 2,000 residential solar facilities.

"The Day The Earth Stood Still" - Trailer

"Take The A Train"

Charles Mingus Sextet featuring Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet.

Dolphy one of my most favorite all time musicians plays an unaccompanied solo in the middle of the tune, and he is great. He has way too much energy, intensity, and uniqueness for the group to comfortably handle and this was Dolphy's fate in many groups including this group of prestigious musicians. Dolphy was playing on the far edges of the norm.

The clip unfortunately ends abuptly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

Interesting to note that the potential bailout of GM is of worldwide concern and "hope" plays an equally big part worldwide as well.

Reuters: Nikkei jumps, hope for U.S. autos beats weak tankan
Hope about the potential lifeline for the automakers, including giant General Motors, helped boost U.S. shares on Friday, though the White House later said there would be no word on the bailout for a while.


Bush Can Duck! Good Reflexes!

Art In The Eye Of A Needle

Unbelievable -

Xmas Cuts

Watching the economy is fun, admit it.

I look forward to Mondays lately. In a materialistic world what is more salient than the economy.

Reuters: Fed cuts to mark pre-Xmas trading
One area from where help is almost certain to come, however, is the Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday. The U.S. central bank is widely expected to slash interest rates by as much as 75 basis points to just 0.25 percent.

But the issue is also arising -- and not just in the United States -- of what happens when rates are so low that they cannot be cut anymore.

Bush Ducks Like A Champ

George Bush got the old Richard Perle treatment.

A few years back Perle was onstage mouthing off about his neo-con highness and some audience member threw his shoes at Perle. Nobody got hit and Perle got a sense of the keen dislike that his presence generates.

Bush secretly visited Iraq and the only way Bush could possibly enter Iraq is secretly, its such a mess.

As Bush enters post presidential office speaking engagements, he may have to frequently draw on his shoe ducking ability. Maybe the secret service will make audience members leave their shoes and anything that can be thrown at the door. Dodging shoes, Bush says more work is needed in Iraq
On an Iraq trip shrouded in secrecy and dissent, President George W. Bush on Sunday hailed progress in the unpopular war that defines his presidency and got a size-10 reminder of opposition to his policies when a man hurled shoes at him during a news conference.

"This is the end!" shouted the man, later identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt.

Bush ducked both shoes as they whizzed past his head and landed with a thud against the wall behind him.

Roubini Discusses The Economy

Check out Roubini on the economy particularly stocks, deflation, the Big Three, Roubini Says Stocks May Fall Another 20% Before Recovery

Stock Market Anticipations

Stocks will probably get bounced around some more this upcoming week.

Three things are coming up that will affect the mood of the market.

- The continued watch over the Big Three and whether or not they get federal money. (I bet they get something.)

- The last meeting of the Fed for this year which will let everyone know about interest rates etc etc.

- Reports from some major banks which no doubt will be ugly.

On the good side, Obama keeps getting the word out that he is intent on an economic recovery plan.

Nothing shocks us at this point including a drop below 7000 for the DOW.

Reuters: Stocks may brake for GM, Fed, Goldman
Wall Street's recovery push from 11-year lows could hit major speed bumps next week as investors fret about the U.S. automakers' fate and the Federal Reserve holds its last scheduled policy meeting of 2008.

The market's other big test will be the start of the quarterly reporting season for investment banks when Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley report results that most expect will show heavy losses.

Captivity and Life

Here's an idea, how about keeping elephants out of zoos. Elephants 'die earlier in zoos'
For African elephants, the average lifespan in captivity was only 19 years compared with 56 years in the wild.

“In the wild they live in large stable groups, separation does cause stress; we know this from studies of other species,” she said.

“They need a huge home range, more systematic enrichment, bigger compounds, grooming areas, mud wallows, hills.”

Beethoven Symphony No. 5 - Part 1

Karajan conducts

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Night and Iraq

Hitting the sack early tonight. We are in the process of packing up and moving and its exhausting especially doing it in the cold.

Its seems like a low news time with eyes focused on the usual suspects of the economy, Obama, and now the diversion of the Illinois governor. Watch all hell break loose tomorrow, right.

I read Michael Ware's article on how his being in Iraq as a journalist this past several years has changed him completely. He's talking about keeping the troops in Iraq because he sees a huge bloodbath happening when they leave. He also talks about the major influence Iran has in Iraqi politics and virtually everything. The US is fighting a proxy war with Iran in Iraq.

So what are we to think? Bush screwed up beyond bigtime, the neo-cons screwed up beyond Bush. Now what do we do? I was out protesting this damn war from day one. We've also learned to ignore whatever Bush and the Pentagon say on the topic because its usually meaningless. Michael Ware, Lora Logan, Scahill, Cockburn, and Dahr Jamail, these are the people that I've come to trust on Iraq. So now what?

Solar Balloon Cell

We really like seeing these kinds of creations and innovations. Hopefully more of it will come to fruition on a large scale. New Solar Balloon Creates 400 Times More Energy Than The Average Solar Cell
The concept behind this design is that they create an “inflatable plastic thin-film balloon (solar concentrator) that, upon inflation, focuses sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell held at its focal point.

Ice Land

Living in upstate NY everything is coated in ice. Many acquaintances are without power and their houses are getting colder and colder. Pipes are freezing and parents are finding friends with electricity to take care of the kids. Lots of trees are down and road and utility crews are busy.

It does look very beautiful though.

Yahoo: Crews fighting cold, ice to restore power in NE
Falling temperatures were expected to send more people to shelters in the ice-coated Northeast on Saturday as an army of utility crews made only limited progress restoring power to more than 1 million homes and businesses.

Super Fit At 69

Obama's Weekly Address

Mortgage Crisis Update

Obama is delivering a very good message right now.

The market has been relatively stable, yet way undervalued, with the DOW moving in the mid 8000s.

This statement will help the market calm down a bit in the upcoming week when without a doubt more bad numbers on the economy will come down.

Yahoo: Obama says mortgage crisis must be resolved
"To end this economic crisis, we must end the mortgage crisis where it began. This all started when Americans took out mortgages they couldn't afford," Obama said in a text of his weekly radio address to be delivered Saturday morning.

Noting that one in ten homeowners now faces some form of financial problem, a record high, Obama said he's already asked his forming administration to produce a plan that help more people keep their homes.

Energy Stocks In 09

Obama will be promoting green energy and alternative energy during his administration, or so we think. We suspect there will be some governmental funding to get the potentially huge industry going.

Wall Street however, is interested in buying oil and gas stocks in the upcoming year. Right now energy stocks have taken a pretty good hit just like everybody else. The thought is that eventually demand will be back, big time. We are still an oil based energy world. It will take quite some time to realign this fact.

Reuters: Energy shares rank among top picks in '09
Once the economy begins to stabilize, demand will return with a vengeance, they said.

"We are in a nasty global recession and oil demand will be affected by that, no question about it," Doll of BlackRock said. "But we are still not drilling enough holes to get enough out of the ground to replace that which we are even using at these lower levels. So oil prices, as the economy recovers, have to come back."

"Bittersweet Symphony"

The Verve

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Daily Show - Colmes