Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

We had an itty bitty rally today with the DOW up 86 and the S&P up 10. Now all we need is another 6,000 points more on the DOW and we're fine....

Reuters: Nikkei gains 0.8 percent as exporters rise on yen


Alright, essentially work for the oil industry, we understand that. Everybody needs to make a buck and big oil has its Senate shills just like everything else, we understand that too.

But please, don't make a public ass out of yourself, be creative, be inventive with your need to suppress information. We are tired of the repeat the lie and eventually people will believe anything strategy.

What's A Community Organizer

Remember Rudy back at the GOP presidential convention. Sheesh...

Anyhow, Obama has pushed through a bill that boosts community service type of funding.

From what I can see, especially in the community I once lived in, this is a tiny drop into a massive ocean. But every little bit helps.

Generally we approve, but watch out for those little Hitler control freaks who somehow manage to get into a position to dispatch nothing but bile into a well intentioned program.

McClatchy: Congress gives community service programs a boost
...allow the 16-year-old AmeriCorps and other government-backed service programs to expand from 75,000 positions to 250,000.

Middle and high school students participating in summer programs could get up to $500 to help pay education costs. Service corps volunteers, who are usually college age, could get as much as $5,350 next year to help with the cost of college, up from the current $4,725.

In another innovation, people over 55 could qualify for "Silver Scholar Awards" of $1,000 for at least 350 hours of service, or "Encore Fellowships" that would help them make a transition into full or regular part-time service.

Swiss Spaghetti Crop - 1957

April Fools....

Exurb Rentals

The exurbs are the McMansion developments beyond the suburbs. The suburbs could be a 2 hour commute, while the exurbs would make that 4.

The recession has hit the exurbs and the new keyword is rental area.

WSJ: In the Exurbs, the American Dream Is Up for Rent
The exurbs were among the fastest growing counties during the boom -- entire civilizations built around the idea of owning real estate. With home prices falling and unemployment rising, more people are renting -- just as they had before the boom -- and turning the community into a rental economy.

The Market On Tuesday

Futures are up and the market is expected to open higher.

So much for the tragic news about GM and Chrysler which allegedly tanked markets yesterday. That was fast, and out of sight out of mind. All this proves is that the reasons given for market volatility are weak. The only reason is money - money.

Let's not forget, the uptick rule is still not in place, so the short sell is still a big profit maker.

Here is a recent overview and perspective article on the economy. This one goes into the "bottom is not quite here yet but it is within sight" category.

Reuters: U.S. recession seen not yet bottoming
While the economy still appears on a downward path, the slope is not as steep as many had feared.

"We can see some green shoots out there in the economy, but that's not enough at this point to tell me definitively that we are close to bottoming out in this process..."
Reuters: U.S. stock futures point to higher open
U.S. consumer confidence due out at 1400 GMT is expected to have edged up in March from the record low hit in February.

Vespa GTS 300 Super

The background is Sydney.

"A Day In The Life"


Monday, March 30, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

The stock market is heading off to the sunset leaving everyone to wonder how much longer the storm can last. But we are resilient, we are going to ride this thing out.

On my way to posting on the Nikkei, I ran across the story about the guy accused of killing 15,000 Cambodians. We are beyond speechless.

Every once in a while you just get a little bit overwhelmed with humanity.

Reuters: Nikkei edges down 0.4 percent, banks fall

"Not All Dogs Go To Heaven"

The Family Guy


Now Down

The DOW fell 254 and the S&P lost 28.

We saw it coming this morning with the anticipated Obama get tough with GM and Chrysler speech.

The reactions seem fair. Its hard to believe that these companies will be something different in the future. We've been waiting for a line of decent fuel efficient cars for a long time. We shall see...

The White House: GM & Chrysler
"In this context, my administration will offer General Motors adequate working capital over the next 60 days. And during this time, my team will be working closely with GM to produce a better business plan. They must ask themselves: Have they consolidated enough unprofitable brands? Have they cleaned up their balance sheets, or are they still saddled with so much debt that they can’t make future investments? Above all, have they created a credible model for how not only to survive, but to succeed in this competitive global market?"

...Chrysler needs a partner to remain viable. Recently, Chrysler reached out and found what could be a potential partner -- the international car company Fiat, where the current management team has executed an impressive turnaround. Fiat is prepared to transfer its cutting-edge technology to Chrysler and, after working closely with my team, has committed to build -- building new fuel-efficient cars and engines right here in the United States. We've also secured an agreement that will ensure that Chrysler repays taxpayers for any new investments that are made before Fiat is allowed to take a majority ownership stake in Chrysler.
Reuters: Frustrated Americans cheer Obama's tough auto moves
Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, said...he (Obama) could succeed because he seemed to have a good "internal gyroscope" on reading the mood of the public.

CNN - Facebook Solves The Crime

I find this story to be particularly telling.

A guy gets his vehicle trashed with lots of cab items stolen. His wife writes on Facebook about the crime. The word circulates on Facebook and someone gives up some critical information that leads to an arrest.

There is a lot to be said about this where a social networking system also becomes a law enforcement vehicle. Its as if surveillance could become an internal messaging system.

The Market On Monday

No one was expecting the market to stay up this week.

Futures are down and the alleged trouble is GM and Chrysler. The "trouble" could have been any one of a number of things but the auto industry is the chosen flavor of the day.

Obama has rejected GM's restructuring plans, wants better plans, has ejected GM CEO Wagoner, and is pulling the punches. This has affected stocks globally with markets down worldwide.

Don't worry though, the rich are doing just fine.
The financial giant Goldman Sachs spent tens of millions of dollars to bail out two senior executives last fall who were short on cash, according to the bank’s proxy statement filed on Friday source
Reuters: GM,Chrysler rocked by Obama autos team hard line
The Obama administration pledged only to fund GM's operations for the next 60 days while it develops a sweeping restructuring plan, instead of granting GM's request for up to a further $16 billion in loans.
Reuters: U.S. stock futures signal losses on automaker woes
On the positive side, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview published on Sunday that he saw "glimmers of stabilization" in some areas of the U.S. economy, including pockets of the domestic housing market.

"Nothing Else Matters"


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Theme From "Jacob's Ladder"

By film composer Maurice Jarre who passed away today.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

The market is poised to come to a full stop this week and probably backup, or so the financial articles indicate.

In my opinion the big news is Krugman saying that the Geithner plan is rearranging the chairs on the Titanic as a way to miss the iceberg.

Details aside, we are not comforted.

The Geithner bailout plans have all the hallmarks of trickle down economics. We throw tons of essentially debt riddled cash at corporate and bank CEOs and hope for the best. No question about it, someone will benefit, but we suspect it might not be the ordinary average American.

Regardless, we have plenty of time to wait for a recovery. The G20 is aiming for global economic growth by the end of 2010. Rounding it off, that would be roughly 2 years from now. So will equities go anywhere this year? Invest in stress reduction and personal growth.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner falls on his sword with a quick shove from the White House. Dinosaurs really are extinct.

Reuters: Nikkei slips 0.2 pct, recent winners retreat

Chris Hedges On America

I read through these articles looking for a particular excerpt that I want to comment on or place in a different context or add to the body of information that we have.

All of this Hedges' article is important and timely, and so I could not find a representative excerpt.

Truthdig: America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout
The elite, who have hollowed out the democratic system to serve the corporate state, rule through image and presentation.

We live in an age of moral nihilism. We have trashed our universities, turning them into vocational factories that produce corporate drones and chase after defense-related grants and funding. The humanities, the discipline that forces us to stand back and ask the broad moral questions of meaning and purpose, that challenges the validity of structures, that trains us to be self-reflective and critical of all cultural assumptions, have withered.

Test Balloon

We already have a cringing sense of what happened. We've read the reports.

Does Bush get away with this? Its not even a viable question.

CNN: Judge OKs probe of torture complaint against Bush officials
A senior Spanish judge has ordered prosecutors to investigate whether key Bush aides should be charged with crimes over the Guantanamo Bay detention center...

...Garzon accepted the complaint under Spanish law because there were several Spaniards at Guantanamo who allegedly suffered torture.

Springtime Madness

So I'm in the food store picking up a few things, and I get into a conversation with an acquaintance.

They tell me that they suspect a neighbor is into a very cult-like type of behavior. The person is a little freaked out, and I just chalk it up to the times we all work to live in and tell them to not worry.

So I'm out in the parking lot and I have to put my food down on a dry spot on the macadam so I can open the trunk of the car. I'm kneeling for a micro-instant and some young hood drives up in a new luxury Lexus rolls down the window, just inches away from me, and offers me some stolen gold jewelry. When I realized what was going on, I decided to never wear a sport jacket out in public unless I was going to a social event.

Its just a weird time of year. People don't realize how tricky it is to go from winter into the warmer weather. The body needs time to adjust and the mind sometimes runs a little loose.

So go get a massage, relax a little bit, everything is still propped up just fine. If you can read this you're probably not hungry. I hope.

Here's another plea for a more compassionate world. Its out there, I'm positive, its just not blooming quite yet.

Yahoo: NC nursing home shooting kills 6, hurts 3

Massive Computer Spy Ring

The ring is based in China. This is the way wars will be fought in the future. The initial salvos have begun...

NYT: Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries
A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama..

...the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China.

"Train/Spaceship" part 1

Phil Glass

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"The Cream Of The Jest"


Coming Up

It looks like next week is a possible stop sign or u-turn week with respect to the market.

Reuters: Stocks bulls may hit the pause button
Analysts said there was an emerging consensus that economic data could not get much worse, opening the door to possibly more gains, but the extent of the recent run-up also made it likely that stocks may consolidate gains and see some profit-taking.

The Bottom Of The Market Part 49

File this article in the recession's demise is in sight and the recession's demise is almost in sight camp.

This is opposed to the recession isn't even close to ending camp.

What we do notice is that the volume of optimistic articles and optimistic quotes from financiers seems to be holding and slightly increasing. This sort of article is more common in the past week especially since the announcement of the Geithner's PPIF plan when the DOW jumped around 500 points.

Presently the DOW is at 7716 while the S&P is at 815.

McClatchy: Is the worst over? Some economists see glimmer of hope
Dunigan points to recent better-than-expected data on retail sales, which bumped up in January and held in February, as well as an unexpected February increase in sales of existing homes.

..."It seems that economic activity fell so sharply from September through January . . . that some key economic indicators may be starting to bounce off their bottoms for this cycle."

I think, frankly, we may have found a bottom for the stock market, although I think we don't go straight up from here..."

"If you squint your eyes and look at the charts, we may have found a bottom there."

Dollar Stuck

The article I am quoting below is an opinion piece, yet Saft is correct, the dollar will remain the world's currency.

The dollar was determined to be the globe's currency after World War II upon world financier consensus. The dollar is intimately connected with virtually all things pertaining to economics world wide. It is the firmament of banks in all countries.

China is at present the world's third largest economy after the USA and Japan. China's interests do not dominate the world's economy regardless of what Zhou Xiaochuan imagines. His sentiment has been expressed before, recall how those suggestions succeeded.

Reuters: World stuck with the dollar, more’s the pity
The idea of creating a global currency, as espoused by China earlier this week, is interesting, has a certain amount of merit and is simply not going to happen any time soon.

In fact you could say the dollar’s “extraordinary” strength can only be fully explained when you take into account the fact that foreign central banks keep piling up huge reserves of the thing and that it is the international medium of exchange for commodities and energy, well really for global trade and financial intermediation.

The Housing Market Stirs

The housing market is stirring in California and in the Northeast.

The recession has brought down prices, combine that with lower interest rates and a tax credit to new home buyers and voila.

Jobs and the housing market are key to an economic recovery. A piece of the puzzle is showing some signs of life.

Reuters: Pockets of strength push US housing market rebound
Sharply lower prices, record low mortgages interest rates, and the government's $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers have been the key to increasing home sales in California.


Miriam Makeba

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bush Panic

Not particularly pleased to see Obama escalating the Afghanistan mess.

What we have here is another Bush insider trying to clear his conscience for unconscionable activity while working under Bush. Where the hell was this guy back then.

CBS News: Ex-Official: Bush Panicked After 9/11
Padmanabhan was the department's chief counsel on Guantanamo litigation. He says it was "foolish" for the Bush administration to declare that detainees were beyond the reach of U.S. and international laws and the Geneva Conventions.

He told the AP Friday that "Guantanamo was one of the worst overreactions of the Bush administration."


Tough News

Not the best news for a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Yahoo: 7 states see jobless rate top 10 percent
Michigan...12 percent
South Carolina...11 percent
Oregon...10.8 percent.
North Carolina...10.7 percent
California and Rhode Island tied for fifth place at 10.5 percent each.
Nevada...10.1 percent.

"Earth To America"

Larry David

Drug Law Repealed In NY

At some point America needs to confront one of its other massive elephants standing in the room. That would be drugs, drug violence, drug legalization, and essentially all things about illegal drugs.

The Rockefeller laws were severe and came about with an uptake in heroin use in the 70's. Most of us knew several junkies back then, we are talking white and black people. Back then, heroin had made its way into the white suburban middle class high school and college population. All I can say is, heroin is beyond aggressive in how it reacts with the body.

These laws were regressive. Drug treatment is superior to imprisonment for many, and I personally know several people who have benefited greatly from drug rehab programs. I suspect we all know someone in that position.

NYT: Albany Reaches Deal to Repeal ’70s Drug Laws
The deal would repeal many of the mandatory minimum prison sentences now in place for lower-level drug felons, giving judges the authority to send first-time nonviolent offenders to treatment instead of prison.

The plan would also expand drug treatment programs and widen the reach of drug courts at a cost of at least $50 million.

Student Loan Defaults Rise

The long reach of the recession continues.

We are aware of so many aspects of this reach - foreign house buying tours in America to buy up cheap property, tent cities for the unemployed and growing homeless population, a shrinking of arts related non profits where the funding is now gone, a spike in violence, animals left out to dry, retirees losing their retirement dividends, countless foreclosures, etc etc etc.

Now throw student loan defaults onto the fire. Roughly 1 in every 14 student loans is going into default.

WSJ: Student-Loan Default Rate Rises
...a jump in the student-loan default rate to 6.9%, from 5.2% a year earlier.

The Market On Friday

One of Obama's larger problem will be trying to reign in some of the new financial strategies that were at the center of the great recession.

He faces stiff resistance from the GOP and like minded financier class people. GOP lately stands for "Got 0 Plans." This is the main point, criticize, but please come up with something. Don't pretend to tell us things are fine as they are.

All sorts of economic data will be out today. Investors will be parsing the info for the tiniest of changes that might suggest improvement over the steady stream of bad news.

Right now futures are down, so the market is set to open lower. Volatility is still in play and no one knows if the DOW will continue and drop 300 or gain 100 today.

Reuters: Stock futures signal dip; eyes on Accenture
U.S. stocks rallied for a second straight day on Thursday, taking the Nasdaq back into positive territory for the year-to-date, on increasing optimism that the economy's worst days are past after the government reported data that was less dire than expected.
Reuters: Long, bumpy road ahead for Obama financial reforms
New financial instruments were also invented without much regulation of either the risk-taking involved or the mechanics of trading them. While poor credit controls in the sub-prime home mortgage market contributed to the U.S. housing boom, the lack of regulatory supervision of new instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and credit default swaps (CDS), may have exacerbated the property market crash.

"Lay Lady Lay"


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

Among the various schools of thought surrounding the market, three are making the news frequently lately.

First there are a few who believe that the market at present sees the edges of the recession's end. They think that the present rally is firm and within margins it will hold.

Then there is the economy starts moving in 2010. They would tend to believe that the present market is a bear rally but the firm bullish times are near.

Finally there is the recession is not even close to running its course, this is definitely a bear rally, and we have to look forward to far more unemployment, a lower DOW, many belly up banks, and a few years of devaluation, etc etc.

Personally I am clueless about who is right but that won't stop me from offering my thoughts. I suspect some corporations are doing perhaps average to safe business which at this point is good. Some corporations are tanking or will tank later this year. Layoffs are going to continue, with the 500,000+ per month figure being the norm. I think the stock market will drop again. I can't see how the present rally is firm based on a 500 point rise earlier on Monday. That was in some ways like too much plastic surgery in an unwarranted situation.

Reuters: Nikkei hits 2-1/2-month high on U.S. hopes
"The Nikkei could even test 9,000 today on the improving situation -- the U.S. 'bad bank' scheme is progressing and housing and consumer situations appear to be getting better."

"Vicious Cycle"


Roubini Forecasts

He's someone to listen to. His present forecasts are no optimistic at all. He sees the present rally strictly as a bear market rally.

Bloomberg: Roubini Says Stocks Will Drop as Banks Go ‘Belly Up’
Investors are “way too optimistic” about the prospects for a recovery in the economy and earnings, Roubini said.

With “deflationary forces” lingering for as long as three years, Roubini said U.S. government bond yields will remain low and American house prices will fall as much as 20 percent in the next 18 months.

Obama Town Hall

Owning America

The steep decline in American housing prices has yielded a great bonus for the nouveau riche in China.

Chinese people are taking home buying tours through the US and they are buying.

We buy Chinese products, massive amounts of treasury bonds are held by China, and now the infrastructure itself is next.

McClatchy: Chinese find opportunity in U.S. real-estate slump
Luo Jie, a tour organizer for those wanting to buy U.S. property, concurred: "You can buy a much better home in America for $400,000 or $500,000 than you can buy here." Luo pulled out a promotional folder written in Mandarin with numerous listings of foreclosed U.S. properties in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and New York.

The Market On Thursday

Today Obama will be proposing a series of regulations on hedge funds and the derivatives markets. The regulations will allow for deep inspections of these financial firms and place restrictions on how much debt they can assume. The eye of the recession passes through these financial institutions.

As an innocent observer, one might suspect that these measures will not go over well. These institutions have had free reign under the previous administration. This is part of the deregulation trend, a Republican mantra.

Here we see part of the crux of the Republican Party's dilemma. They still push for deregulation in a time when it has almost collapsed the world economy.

Reuters: Futures point to higher open for Wall Street
At 10 a.m. EDT, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is set to outline proposals for new, tougher requirements on major financial firms to protect the financial system and new rules to prevent financial fraud and abuse against consumers and investors.

Beethoven Sonata Op 57 "Appassionata" First Movement

Pianist Valentina Lisitsa

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Thursday

The DOW flipped up, down, then up again today, gaining 89 while the S&P gained 7.

The big news today was data suggesting that housing starts have noticeably picked up and long lasting durable goods also picked up.

The financiers are still in a quandary and express uncertainty about the market but I do know that stock brokers are picking up business lately. Some people are buying and even seriously beat up real estate stocks are picking up a little.

Reuters: Nikkei dips 0.1 percent, defensive stocks weigh
Japan's Nikkei average slipped 0.1 percent on Thursday, as falls in defensive stocks such as drugmakers offset gains in exporters after unexpectedly strong economic data buoyed Wall Street.
Reuters: Wall St. rallies late as data offsets bond sale gloom
Stocks rose in a late rally on Wednesday as unexpectedly strong housing and durable goods data fueled hopes the economy is finally on the mend...

"Kill With Kindness"


"Where The Wild Things Are" - Trailer

If you have kids, you've read this story more times than you can count.

Now its a movie -

New Scrabble Words

From a deep operative -

There are now three new scrabble words - za, qi, and zzz.

That's really going to help. I mean "zzz" is never going to happen because that's a waste of two blanks. But hey, za and qi are excellent.

Now don't forget about jo, xi, xu, suq, qat, and qaid, aa, torii, louie, and a host of others.

WSJ: Price Drop: Stocks, Homes, Now Triple-Word Scores
"Za," "qi" and "zzz" were added recently to the game's official word list for its original English-language edition.

From Your Pockets To the Bank's

Dean Baker lays out a very succinct breakdown of the Geithner sop up bad asset plan.

There was an interesting illustration recently. It showed a burning building utterly consumed in flames. You can detect a bank's name on the burning edifice. Standing with fire hoses are the firemen with one little change. The hoses are not spouting water, they are spouting cash...

ZNET: The Geithner Plan: Billions More for Failed Banks
The main mechanism is a government guarantee that would allow investors to buy junk with a 12 to 1 leverage ratio, where they only risk the downside on their own investment, not the borrowed money.

Now these investors will have the opportunity to buy these assets with large subsidies from the government, allowing them to make substantial profits.

...recognizing that most of any potential loss will be born by the government. This route might prove especially attractive for one of the zombie banks, who would effectively have nothing to lose anyhow, since they are already bankrupt.

It is also worth noting that this is a situation that invites all manner of fraud since there are very large government subsidies that could be appropriated through clever schemes.

The Market On Wednesday

We are deeper into a wait and see period.

Economic news is still primarily negative with orders for durable goods down again.

When all the specific recession news is out there and the list of government stimulus plans is well established, Wall Street has a way of factoring in the bad news and still moving into rallying type of territory. When this starts occurring in a more even and less volatile way, the edges of a recovery will be in sight. Some feel we are there now, many others differ.

Talking with a long time investor and believer in the stock market yesterday, he said he is prepared to see the DOW go down to 5000. Nothing surprises us at this point, the floors and ceiling have been ripped off.

Reuters: U.S. futures point to higher open
Congress's drive to recoup bonuses at American International Group is slowing significantly as passions on the issue cool, potentially removing a wedge that has threatened to derail the Obama administration's broader agenda, reported the Wall Street Journal.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

We just listened to Obama deliver a short pep talk on his approach to the recession and then primarily take questions from the press.

He's very interesting and articulate, we know that.

I would agree with the announcers on NPR who discussed what they felt was the big take away sound bite. It had to do with Obama going on about persistence and the power of being persistent. He said this was something that he would talk about throughout his tenure.

Well its an old saying, persistence furthers.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.8 percent after rally, banks weaken

Beatboxing Flute Sesame Street


Today the DOW dropped 115 and the S&P lost 16.

Yesterday's huge gain was a freak of nature. Even I was very suspicious. Today the euphoria over the Geithner plan subsided although I suspect Monday's hyper-rally was orchestrated in advance.

All we really want are stable and small but steady gains. Is that too much to ask...

Reuters: Wall St. slides as investors reassess government bank plan
"There is a fair amount of debate about what has been proposed ... and whether this is actually going to solve the problem or not..

Just Go Away, No Really

How about that, the GOP seems to have temporarily learned a lesson.

All it takes for that to happen is back to back massive electoral defeats and a party in chaos and crumbling.

Party bigs have told Darth Vader to go back into an undisclosed bunker. The ever terrifying Cheney was on national TV recently, as you know, literally crapping up the bed, or in the bed, if you prefer.

Besides going over like a lead balloon by providing a footnote to the Bush-Cheney war on America, Cheney seems to have gotten under the skin of the party famous for loyalty no matter what and even when its absurd and destructive to do so.

The Hill.com: Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney

Obama's Op Ed To The World

Appearing in newspapers world wide
WASHINGTON: We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation. Now, the leaders of the Group of 20 have a responsibility to take bold, comprehensive and coordinated action that not only jump-starts recovery, but also launches a new era of economic engagement to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.

No one can deny the urgency of action. A crisis in credit and confidence has swept across borders, with consequences for every corner of the world. For the first time in a generation, the global economy is contracting and trade is shrinking.

Trillions of dollars have been lost, banks have stopped lending, and tens of millions will lose their jobs across the globe. The prosperity of every nation has been endangered, along with the stability of governments and the survival of people in the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Once and for all, we have learned that the success of the American economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. There is no line between action that restores growth within our borders and action that supports it beyond.

If people in other countries cannot spend, markets dry up -- already we've seen the biggest drop in American exports in nearly four decades, which has led directly to American job losses. And if we continue to let financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, we will remain trapped in a cycle of bubble and bust. That is why the upcoming London Summit is directly relevant to our recovery at home.

My message is clear: The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose. Much good work has been done, but much more remains.

Our leadership is grounded in a simple premise: We will act boldly to lift the American economy out of crisis and reform our regulatory structure, and these actions will be strengthened by complementary action abroad. Through our example, the United States can promote a global recovery and build confidence around the world; and if the London Summit helps galvanize collective action, we can forge a secure recovery, and future crises can be averted.

Our efforts must begin with swift action to stimulate growth. Already, the United States has passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the most dramatic effort to jump-start job creation and lay a foundation for growth in a generation.

Other members of the G-20 have pursued fiscal stimulus as well, and these efforts should be robust and sustained until demand is restored. As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis.

Second, we must restore the credit that businesses and consumers depend upon. At home, we are working aggressively to stabilize our financial system. This includes an honest assessment of the balance sheets of our major banks, and will lead directly to lending that can help Americans purchase goods, stay in their homes and grow their businesses.

This must continue to be amplified by the actions of our G-20 partners. Together, we can embrace a common framework that insists upon transparency, accountability and a focus on restoring the flow of credit that is the lifeblood of a growing global economy. And the G-20, together with multilateral institutions, can provide trade finance to help lift up exports and create jobs.

Third, we have an economic, security and moral obligation to extend a hand to countries and people who face the greatest risk. If we turn our backs on them, the suffering caused by this crisis will be enlarged, and our own recovery will be delayed because markets for our goods will shrink further and more American jobs will be lost.

The G-20 should quickly deploy resources to stabilize emerging markets, substantially boost the emergency capacity of the International Monetary Fund and help regional development banks accelerate lending. Meanwhile, America will support new and meaningful investments in food security that can help the poorest weather the difficult days that will come.

While these actions can help get us out of crisis, we cannot settle for a return to the status quo. We must put an end to the reckless speculation and spending beyond our means; to the bad credit, over-leveraged banks and absence of oversight that condemns us to bubbles that inevitably bust.

Only coordinated international action can prevent the irresponsible risk-taking that caused this crisis. That is why I am committed to seizing this opportunity to advance comprehensive reforms of our regulatory and supervisory framework.

All of our financial institutions -- on Wall Street and around the globe -- need strong oversight and common sense rules of the road. All markets should have standards for stability and a mechanism for disclosure. A strong framework of capital requirements should protect against future crises. We must crack down on offshore tax havens and money laundering.

Rigorous transparency and accountability must check abuse, and the days of out-of-control compensation must end. Instead of patchwork efforts that enable a race to the bottom, we must provide the clear incentives for good behavior that foster a race to the top.

I know that America bears our share of responsibility for the mess that we all face. But I also know that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.

This G-20 meeting provides a forum for a new kind of global economic cooperation. Now is the time to work together to restore the sustained growth that can only come from open and stable markets that harness innovation, support entrepreneurship and advance opportunity.

The nations of the world have a stake in one another. The United States is ready to join a global effort on behalf of new jobs and sustainable growth. Together, we can learn the lessons of this crisis, and forge a prosperity that is enduring and secure for the 21st century.

Cut It Out

Back in the late 70s, I jumped on the vegetarian bandwagon. Over the years, I jumped on and off it a few times, but basically I cut out red meat now to a once every 6 months or so level. If I really want it, what the hell. About two months ago I had a bison burger and it was tasty. Red meat is tasty, but the fat is a killer, it clogs the mechanism. That's not very scientific, let's call it poetic-like advice.

Cereal, lentil soup, sunshine burgers, an occasional omelet, salads with beans and apples, beans and greens, this is the fuel that drives jcsande.blogspot.com...

CNN: Want to live longer? Cut back on red meat
People who eat red meat every day have a higher risk of dying over a 10-year period -- mostly because of cardiovascular disease or cancer --than their peers who eat less red or processed meat, according to a new study of about half a million people.

The Market On Tuesday

After a nearly 500 point rally on Monday, futures indicate that the market will open down.

How do you like that. One day after announcing one of the biggest don't worry mommy will fix it schemes ever devised, the children decide they need to go wild in the neighborhood.

So, now that all your bad debt is gone, how do feel? You say you're still in debt...

Reuters: U.S. stock futures point to dip after strong rally
Prominent economist Martin Feldstein said on Tuesday the recession in the United States will stretch well into next year, probably raising the need for another fiscal stimulus package at least as large as the first one.

Chopin Etude Op 25 No.11

Pianist Valentina Lisitsa

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday - Steroids Optional

Soaring, rising, sopping, sparking, stabilizing, rebounding, thawing - its all the rhetoric of the recession and its newest bad boy, Geithner.

How to make friends and keep them - throw billions at their own greedy mistakes. Oh and send them cupcakes filled with gold. After all this is still what this is all about. It was the banking system that decided to give unending credit to anyone with a pulse or in some cases without, in order to surf the housing bubble ad infinitum. Except the bubble decided to burst splattering everyone in the world with asset acid.

Now be happy the DOW got a shot of super growth hormone today, you ingrate. Its the banking system on steroids.

Reuters: Nikkei gains 1.5 percent on U.S. bank plan

"The Social Contract"


Volatility Remains

Personally I would prefer to see the market stay even and stable with steady small gains rather than make these sharp rallies which can't be building blocks. I have no faith in today's results.

McClatchy: Geithner's last shot: If this doesn't work, nationalization next?
As the past 14 months of recession have made painfully clear, however, a one-day stock rally hardly means the worst is over.

There's still great fragility in the financial systems. But we think that we are moving in the right direction," Obama said.

...selling the assets now at a low price will force the banks to post steep losses. Thus they'll probably need more capital on top of what they’ve already received.

Holy Cripes

The DOW is jumped a whopping 497 and the S%P jumped a similarly whopping 54. That's huge. Wall Street likes the PPIF plan at least for now.

Reuters: U.S. woos investors to buy toxic assets
...Krugman said it was a rehash of a "cash-for-trash" proposal the Bush administration floated last fall. He said the incentives meant investors could profit if asset values increase, but "walk away" if they fall.

PPIF Begins

At mid-day the DOW is up over 250 and financiers are expressing interest in the plan.

Will this hold, and will the enthusiasm continue. I suspect that there will be huge pot holes in the path.

Reuters: Detailed bank plan propels Wall Street higher

Reuters: Nobel laureate Krugman slams Geithner bailout plan
"But the fact is that financial executives literally bet their banks on the belief that there was no housing bubble, and the related belief that unprecedented levels of household debt were no problem. They lost that bet. And no amount of financial hocus-pocus -- for that is what the Geithner plan amounts to -- will change that fact..."

Housing Sales Improve

At this moment Wall Street likes the Geithner plan and they like the fact that housing sales were up a bit in February.

If you have good credit, some dough, and are looking to buy a house, it is clearly a buyer's market. Mortgage rates are below 5% and housing prices are down in many but not all areas.

Personally I see this as a brief moment of optimism not something to get one's hopes up over.

Reuters: Market extends gains after housing data
The housing data added to the optimism sparked earlier by the unveiling of a U.S. government plan to relieve banks of money-losing assets to revive the recession-hit economy

The Market On Monday

Markets in Hong Kong and Japan gained overnight on Geithner bank plan hopes.

American futures are up across the board.

The announcement is set to come at 8:45 am just before Wall Street officially opens at 9 am. Clearly they are "banking" on the plan to positively affect the market's direction.

This is a big deal. We will either be wading in muck for the next year with the DOW sinking a few thousand more points or we will be leveling off as investors look to get back into equities, keeping in mind that the vast territory between these two extremes is also open.

All we can do is hang on for the ride. Electing Obama was our input into this process.

Reuters: U.S. stock futures signal rally on debt plan hopes

"Mama Don't Allow"

Bukka White

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Asian Update

Its starting to look like Geithner's plan is starting to gain traction in Asia at least for the time being.

The Nikkei appears to be up, although earlier it opened lower.

Reuters: Asia stocks up as U.S. bad debt plan kindles hope
Asian stocks rose on Monday, with Japan's Nikkei at a one-month high, and oil prices climbed toward $53 a barrel on investor hopes a U.S. plan to rid banks of $1 trillion of toxic assets was closer to being implemented.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

This week the stakes are high.

The plan will be released allegedly on Monday. After that, who knows what will happen.

The announcement earlier that American futures were up late on Sunday was good but the reality is the overall economic news for the week will still be harsh.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.1 pct, U.S. financial plans awaited

"De Mortius"


Early Market Return

So far Wall Street likes Geithner.

Reuters: Stock futures rise on toxic asset plan reports

Coming Up On Wall Street

Its coming to an investment portfolio real near to you real soon. The word is that the "plan" will be revealed on Monday. So with less than 24 hours to go, we will be either slightly up in the chips or very down around the edges of our mouths.

I would not want to be in Geithner's shoes. He will either be in the same boat as Hussein or he will be the second coming. That's way too wide a margin.

The drama is building. The people at the core of this thing are probably doing stress reduction and deep breathing at this very instant. I can't imagine the pressure that they must feel. I'm even nervous about it.

Reuters: Investors banking on toxic-asset plan
A disappointing plan could set the stage for a sharp, swift slide in the stock market, but a well-designed one could serve as a catalyst for further gains.

Stand Up Straight For Cripes Sake

I am part of posture police. Its similar to the morality police in Saudi Arabia except my focus is posture.

OK. women, your posture completely sucks, it blows.

I think it starts with women when they are in their teens. They get all self conscious about breasts for at least three reasons:

- They hate being stared at by gawking teens and lecherous old men.

- They are self conscious about not being some kind of Barbie doll perfected robotron being and they feel insecure.

- They feel the need to protect themselves.

As a result, they slouch their shoulders to try to hide themselves. Consequently a whole host of poor posture elements take hold - bad back, craning neck, misaligned feet, not to mention a passive type of presentation even though they may very well be sparkling intelligent, bright, and brilliant.

So, get it together - pin the shoulder blades down to help the sternum go up and the shoulders to straighten out wide. Let your head come up and stop craning. Align your feet straight ahead and under your hips. Tuck the caboose down to help straighten out the lower spine.

Thank you, you will look great.

How To Beat Stress

Couch Yoga

Three Point Plan

The plan is coming soon.

One would suspect that the massive general contempt for huge-bonus-gate will have to die down a bit because this plan wants to be the news. It needs to wow.

As Krugman suggests, if the plan fails (and Krugman expects that it will) there will not be a second plan. The political capital will be spent, but good. Obama would then somehow have to pull out of a tailspin.

A lot is riding on this thing. If investors like it the market will rally at least a little. If they don't like it, the present level of the DOW will look like Everest in a few weeks.

Reuters: Treasury to unveil bank rescue bid soon
(1)...setting up an entity to be used by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp...to offer low-interest loans to private interests for buying up banks' soured assets...

(2) Second, the Treasury Department will hire investment managers to run public-private funds to invest for potential profit in troubled mortgages, with government capital matching private capital contributions...

(3) Finally, the Federal Reserve will...buy "legacy" assets...

Legacy assets are older securities, many of them tied to mortgage assets that have plunged in value after housing prices fell and have racked up massive losses for the banking system.

"Soweto Blues"

Miriam Makeba

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cattle Rustling Is Back

Trickle down from the recession, and by this we mean all out suffering, has hit in some unforeseen areas.

The latest news report indicates that cattle rustling is up.

In a time of marked surveillance and security one might assume that rustling was unthinkable.

McClatchy: Cattle rustling surges across Texas in bad economy
...received reports that 6,404 cattle were stolen or missing in 2008, up from 2,400 the year before.

"Omaha Bitch"

Orgasmic Troopers

Looking through youtube on a Saturday night, you stumble across all sorts of things.

The music is thrash metal-ish but the video in conjunction with the music is amusing. I have no idea if this concept has been used before but if this is the first time - good job. The choreography gets good grades.

"The Better Bargain"


Chinese Drywall

This article caught my eye.

If the claim is true and Chinese made drywall is as bad as they say, then ask where the stuff comes from when you buy it.

Or if it smells like rotten eggs and garbage, maybe leave it alone...

CNN: Chinese-made drywall ruining homes, owners say
...claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems...

An Alabama-based homebuilder alleges that Chinese-manufactured drywall in 40 houses it built in 2005 and 2006 -- 32 in Alabama and eight in Florida -- caused corrosion or odor problems.

Krugman On The Upcoming Geithner PPIF Plan

Krugman writes that the upcoming Geithner plan will fail.

If he is correct, does this mean that the recession continues till 2012?

NY TImes: Despair over financial policy
This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn’t actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won’t be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work.

PPIF Coming Soon

Geithner is on the hot seat, and we are placing our faith in his hands, literally, yet next week he will unveil a plan that "sops" up toxic assets AKA bad mortgages. You have to like that word sops, whose bright idea was that one. Geithner is sticking a plain piece of white bread into a steak, cooked ultra rare, dish to sop up the blood drippings - its not appealing. I prefer well done, no sopping required.

Regardless, like every week in the past 6 months, this next one will be telling.

At issue is the quality of Geithner's plan called PPIF - Public Private Investment Fund. The plan must appeal to the financier class or they will head for the hills. If they head for the hills, perhaps a vacation in Rio or Rome, what remains of the old portfolio will begins its famous magic shrinking act once again. This time however, it may pull off the final stunt and almost disappear, or so they are saying.

Its all so screwy, in one week the DOW could be at a new several decade low or dwelling once again in the anemic 7 or 8Ks, which at this point looks like an oasis.

Reuters: Stock investors banking on toxic-asset plan
Details of the Treasury Department's much delayed plan to sop up banks' toxic assets are expected early next week...

Next up in the aggressive campaign to resuscitate the economy is the toxic-asset plan, known as the Public Private Investment Fund, or PPIF...

A disappointing plan could set the stage for a sharp, swift slide in the stock market, but a well-designed one could serve as a catalyst for further gains.

CNN - Tough Week For Geithner


For reasons which I cannot explain, Google had seen fit to not allow me to blog early this morning. I am happy to see that the essential problem is at least temporarily rectified.

You see I actually had written a detailed post about how Bush's last minute rule to allow for concealed firearms in our national parks had been struck down by a federal judge. That post bit the copy and paste dust void.

I was trying to get at what I perceived to be the crux of the problem approaching it from opposing sides of the issue.

One side is that America is violent and we need to be able to defend ourselves. So some people probably feel compelled to carry a gun for these reasons.

On the other hand, if there were no guns maybe people wouldn't shoot each other.

I still essentially believe that this was a kiss ass NRA gift from great leader and I'm happy to see it struck down. Anything that Bush did that gets struck down is fine with me.

"The Waldstein" First Movement Excerpt

Nelson Freire plays Beethoven

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Flight of the Bumble-Bee"

Pianist Yuja Wang


The Environment - Birds

We've seen warnings about how the bird population is endangered before -

From May 2008: Climate change raising extinction risk among birds: study

Now there is a new study from the Secretary of the Interior on endangered birds in the US.

We keep 2 feeders going pretty much all year round. The feeders are literally inches away from windows so we get a very close view as they come and go. I think a bird feeder and a bird bath go a real long way with bringing life onto your property. I can't imagine not having that.

Science News: U.S. bird populations in decline, report says
A review of bird populations in the United States was released March 19 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Nearly a third of the United States’ 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline, the new report shows.

Bird populations are critical indicators of the health of our environment — “like the canary in the coal mine,” Salazar said at a press conference.

But conservation projects have been successful in reversing declines in some bird populations. Populations of 39 different species of waterfowl have increased by more than 100 percent during the past 40 years, thanks to efforts to restore more than 30 million acres of wetlands, the report says.

CBO Forecasts

The article points out that the Congressional Budget Office - CBO - is projecting far greater deficits than those estimated by the president.

Nothing new here, all presidents err on the side of how they wish it all works out.

Within the somber sounding article comes another strong statement that the recession is thought to end in 2009 with growth in 2010 and 2011. Call it buying a year.

Reuters: U.S. Budget Office offers darker economic and deficit outlook
CBO also issued gloomier forecasts for the U.S. economy, projecting that it will contract 3 percent in 2009 before growing 2.9 percent next year and expanding 4 percent in 2011.

Obama Speaks To Iran

CNN - Obama Plays It Straight

The Market On Friday

The Fed's move to buy up long term bonds has set off a negative reaction among investors.
The idea was to encourage more economic activity by lowering interest rates, including those on home loans, and to help the financial system as it struggles under the crushing weight of bad loans and poor investments.

But there were also clear indications that the Fed was taking risks that could dilute the value of the dollar and set the stage for future inflation. source
The negative aspects of this new Fed move including the fear of future inflation has affected the present market. The rally seems to be over for now.

Reuters: Wall Street set to extend losses

"Get Up Stand Up"

Bob Marley

Thursday, March 19, 2009

O On Leno

No Nikkei

Japan's Nikkei is closed on Friday March 20.


Spring is literally right around the corner!
In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially begins at 7:44 a.m. ET on Friday, March 20, 2009—the vernal equinox, or spring equinox.

"Nightmare In 4-D"



Actually it will take time for the tax money to make its way back to the bailout-ers AKA us.

If I had a million dollars for a year knowing that 90% of it was going in taxes in April of 2010 or so, then I would use the money to make money. Even a simple high yield interest account would net a nice lump sum and that's a no brainer.

McClatchy: House votes to tax AIG bonuses amid nationwide protests
...90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with household incomes exceeding $250,000 a year at companies that have received at least $5 billion in federal bailout assistance.


The DOW dropped 85 and the S&P dropped 10. I was surprised by this. One might have thought the news that the Fed was printing up another cool trillion to grease the economic wheel would have set the place on fire.

Turns out the stinker in the craw was unemployment. What a stinker it is. The layoffs continue and the effects of the recession continue to trickle down, tent cities are rising. This is the real trickle down.

The word is we were having a classic bear market rally.
The Labor Department said on Thursday that 5.47 million people stayed on the benefit rolls in the week ended March 7, up from 5.29 million the previous week and the highest on record. source
Turning 180 degrees in the opposite direction, this article is big on investing and points out that the markets may have changed for the better. Exactly who do we listen to at this point. The conflicting information abounds and then to top it off corporations are burning up taxpayer bailout money like it was cotton candy. Go ahead tax bonuses, big deal.

Reuters: Cautious investors suddenly challenged by hope
...a strong message that monetary policy officials are prepared to do what it takes to reverse economic decline.

It is certainly true that some of the features of the old bull market have suddenly resurfaced -- plentiful liquidity, a declining dollar and a rising oil price, to name three.

The Daily Show - Interview With A Vampire

CNN - Tent City Is Home To Homeless

Where Was I

Spent the morning with the medical folks with some routine work. All systems are AOK.

Missed the morning stock reports but I see the DOW is hovering 25 below neutral at the moment. The big news is the FED greasing the system with another trillion. Hey get those printing machines up and running, where's the beef? Better yet, where's the money?

The worst news is reading that Natasha Richardson died. We don't expect to see someone so vital to die so young. This is impermanence, one of the fundamental rules, maybe the most fundamental. This is a very tragic loss.

We see that some AIG bigwigs will be giving their bonus millions back. Personally, I am going to keep my 10 million bonus.

I did not say 10 million of what.

Manuel Barrueco

In the opinion of many, Barrueco is the finest classical guitarist of his generation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The economy has taken precedence over all other news and problems on the national level.

Iraq is still a mess.

Yahoo: Baghdad's water still undrinkable 6 years after invasion
The stench of human waste is enough to tell Falah abu Hasan that his drinking water is bad. His infant daughter Fatma's continuous illnesses and his own constant nausea confirm it.

Abstain You Ingrate

Something tells me that abstention is not going to work.

I have absolutely no idea whatsoever why I believe this. Call it a crude hunch.

BBC: Why the Pope opposes condoms
...he says "don't use condoms - even to prevent the spread of Aids"...

...the "cruel epidemic" should be tackled through fidelity and abstinence rather than condoms...

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

The talk is a newly announced Fed move to pump into the economy $1 trillion. The move includes buying up treasuries.

Call it what it is, another massive corporate bailout.

Reuters: Nikkei edges up 0.3 percent as Fed move buoys banks

Buy A Newspaper - Please

Blogs are nice, Online news is good, TV news is poor, and radio is fair to bad except NPR, the BBC, and few tiny exceptions, so to round it out there is the classroom, books, and newspapers.

Newspapers are in decline. This is bad. We need newspapers and I would gladly trade my semi-selfish interests in blogging for a decent newspaper especially one that could fail due to lack of interest or readership and the recession on its heals.

The news is at a premium in this country. We need more of it, not less of it. So support your local paper. We need that information that only the local papers can give us.

McClatchy: Finally, besieged newspapers have a defender in Congress
...without newspapers serving as watchdogs no one would track local school boards, uncover scandals like Watergate or the Walter Reed Medical Center or give a voice to the vulnerable and mistreated.

Chomsky On US Imperialism - 1

Chomsky On US Imperialism - 2

CNN - Watch Out For Scams

The Market On Wednesday

The Fed is holding a policy meeting and the decisions are about due.

Why would they raise interest rates? Exactly, end of question.

Charming AIG executives trying their very best to help out the faltering economy by innocently taking multimillion dollar bonuses for their amazingly productive work may be forced to return the bonuses. According to Rudy Giuliani, those bonuses are good for the economy. He can say that with a straight face, that's the amazing part.

Reuters: Stock futures point to lower open; eyes on Fed

"Platée, La Folie !"


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Don't trust it, its just a short term rally not the recovery we want.

Reuters: Nikkei rises above 8,000, first time in over 1 month

Gains And Losses

I just read where Natasha Richardson is in serious condition following a skiing accident.

Talk about smart, beautiful, and talented women, this is very sad news. We all wish her and her family our best.

There is no appropriate segue here but -

The market finished up today, the DOW gained 178 and the S&P 24. I don't know about you, but I sure don't trust the stability of this little rally over the last 6 days. It would be hard to find confidence that the gains are stable.

CNN Money: Stocks finish with solid gains

The AIG saga continues to disgust. Since when are contractual obligations etched in stone...

Good News With A Modifier

New housing construction was up in February. This was a surprise to most observers. The increase in construction occurred mostly in the Northeast.

Analysts do not see this as a sign of a recovery, they see it as a one time boost. There is no shortage of available housing especially in the West.

CNN Money: Housing starts unexpectedly surge
"This is a temporary rebound, not a recovery."

Nokia Layoffs

Nokia is laying off 1,700, but does this mean that communication companies are also experiencing a decline in business, companies like AT&T etc. Allegedly Verizon and AT&T are doing better than most.

Yahoo: Nokia to cut 1,700 jobs in sinking phone market

CNN - Finding A Floor In Housing

The Market On Tuesday

After yesterday's excellent liftoff and subsequent fizzle, a modest dose of reality has settled in again.

Alas the recession is still with us. The big news today is about Alcoa cutting its dividends. This is a very telling part of the equation since Alcoa provides aluminum and the demand is down. Manufacturing involving aluminum is down worldwide.

Reuters: Stock futures flat to higher; eyes on Alcoa, Fed

"I Can't Make You Love Me"

Bonnie Raitt

Monday, March 16, 2009


I read that Kiss singer and guitarist Paul Stanley just had an art opening in Beverly Hills.

So let's take a look at Paul's work from 1979.

There's enough material in this clip for a thesis.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

Reuters: Nikkei edges up 0.8 percent, exporters gain

"One For The Road"



Boning Bonus

Talk about a stick in one's craw, how about those guys at AIG, and they are contractually obligated to pay - well in that case fine, its AOK with us as long as you are contractually obligated. Hell, why didn't you say so in the first place. We are socially obligated to tar and feather you in the media for your next ten lifetimes, and to draw asses on your face whenever one appears.

Now that's about as obscenely brazen, greedy, and obnoxious as it gets, not to mention tone deaf and generally obscene, not me, them.

Listening to NPR today, I wondered where such intense scrutiny was during the Iraq war buildup.

McClatchy: Obama to seek 'every legal avenue' to block AIG bonuses
"Under these circumstances, it's hard to understand how derivative traders at AIG warranted any bonuses, much less $165 million in extra pay," Obama said.