Monday, August 31, 2009

Coke Cane

They say most paper money in circulation in the US, one and five dollar bills, has traces of cocaine right in the fabric of the money. source

Now they are saying cocaine is cut with dangerous veterinary de-worming medication.

What will be the next cocaine disclosure?

Tainted cocaine kills 3, sickens dozens

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) Delivers Weekly Republican Address On Health Care 8-29-09

Nice halo dude...

Nikkei Opens Flat On Tuesday

The price of oil is down. Chinese bank lending curtailment fears have thrown the global recovery's momentum out the window for at least a day, or two? or three? Who knows.

China is a leading spear in the hope for a global recovery.

So it was bad news today and it could get worse as unemployment data comes out later on.

We do know this, the beginning of October will bring out the GDP news for the third quarter. I would suspect a lot of bets and hopes are resting on this data showing that the GDP actually expanded at least a tad in the third quarter. And that, is where it is at...

Reuters: Japan's Nikkei flat; stronger yen weighs


I am going to go out on a limb here and offer a very non compelling and adolescent assessment of the day's news, and in so doing devalue my last modicum of authority as a die hard blogger.

The news blows.

Cheney is being Cheney, loose and wild with the facts and covering for the worst "leaders" in half a century. The right is being the right - outlandish, hatefully emotional, and loose with the facts. Half the country is on fire either literally or emotionally and it really may be time for a vacation.

Hey, flopping around in gravy in order to raise money for a hospice works.

BBC: Wrestlers take to the gravy ring
The Rose 'n' Bowl pub in Stacksteads, Lancashire, hosted the World Gravy Wrestling Championships.

Bisto provided 2,000 litres (440 gallons) of gravy past its best before date for the contest, which raised money for the East Lancashire Hospice.

Reuters News Clips

The Market On Monday

On Monday morning at 8:15 a.m. futures are significantly down. When they are this low it rarely goes into the green, but really you never know.

Oil is down and that is a key component of the market's activity. Chinese stocks are down and since everyone keeps pointing to China as a leader out of the recession, the day is shaping up negatively at this moment.

Finally, unemployment numbers for August will be the big concern for investors, coming up later this week.

In upstate NY its a beautiful day. Enjoy the day and forget about the market...

Reuters: Stock futures lower as China equities, commodities fall
Oil dropped 2.3 percent, falling near $71 a barrel as traders fretted about a sharp decline in Chinese stocks...

CNN - 20 Million Bats

"I'm Too Sexy"

Right Said Fred

Notice the 12 second commercial that we now have to watch with youtube.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Sovereignty or Secession" Rally in Austin, Texas

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

We can't say it enough, jobs, jobs, jobs.

When the data on jobs lost in August comes up, the markets will take on a whole different tone.
Economists polled by Reuters forecast job losses of 225,000 for August, which would be a slight improvement from 247,000 lost in July. But they expect the unemployment rate to rise to 9.5 percent in August from last month's 9.4 percent. source
Reuters: Nikkei rises 0.7 pct after election, yen weighs

The Old House

We painted the entrance way in the morning.

Then we went to help move the meditation group to a new location, a lot of heavy lifting.

Back home we installed new ceiling light fixtures.

Then onto the tiling. I dragged out the old Felker wet saw, and I must say this is one of my favorite tools.

And voila, we tiled the entrance way. We used Italian porcelain tiles of the large variety roughly 13" by 13". The tiles were left over from a job I did about 4 or 5 years ago. Yes, the image is the new tile job.

We still have to grout the tile and do the trim work but we are almost there.

And now I am tired. Its non stop with an old house, working on it seven days a week.

No Splendor For You

The pound is down against the dollar. Wealthy foreigners are taking advantage of this to buy into London's luxury homes.

In England housing prices are rising as the English and foreigners are able to buy with low interest rates.

Is this all another sign of the recession easing. It probably is.

Bloomberg: London’s Luxury Homes Sell at the Fastest Pace Since July 2007
About 250 homes and apartments costing more than 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) were sold during August...

Health Insurers Worse Than A So-Called Death Panel

Very useful op-ed from the NY Times on how the insurance companies themselves are already death panels, providing inadequate care for those who are insured and causing bankruptcy to those in great need.

NY Times: Until Medical Bills Do Us Part
A study reported in The American Journal of Medicine this month found that 62 percent of American bankruptcies are linked to medical bills. These medical bankruptcies had increased nearly 50 percent in just six years. Astonishingly, 78 percent of these people actually had health insurance, but the gaps and inadequacies left them unprotected when they were hit by devastating bills.

Hate And Anger

The new McClatchy article on the emotional state of the country is not accurate. There is an emotional furor out there, but a good portion of it is based on the aggressive pursuit of ignorance. The article does not question the presumptions of the angry hordes. Do we now give credibility to a hate mob?

Obama's popularity is in the majority. Economists of all types are quick to point out that the moves to avert the complete and continued collapse of the credit markets were necessary. Without the moves, the economy is in more pieces, strewn about like wreckage from dozens of car bombs.

The movement to reform health care is fundamental. The cost of health care is off the charts and the quality of health care is diminishing. Insurance companies control health care not medical professionals. Who does not know this? These two factors alone adversely affect the country's economy. This bind is clear.

What is not expressed in this article is the growing outrage at the ludicrous right wing.

McClatchy: Summer of our discontent: Why is America so angry?
"There seems to be a reservoir of anger in the country of a particularly intense and shrill variety that it is not simply what's appeared at the town meetings..."

"Why I Am"

Dave Matthews

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Five Health Care Lies

Newsweek is attempting to correct big insurance's aggressive pursuit of an ignorance cloud over America's vulnerable.

Newsweek: The Five Biggest Lies in the Health Care Debate
- You'll have no choice in what health benefits you receive.

- No chemo for older medicare patients.

- Illegal immigrants will get free health insurance.

- Death panels will decide who lives.

- The government will set doctors' wages.

Your Weekly Address

Obama's Eulogy For Ted Kennedy

CNN - Rebuilding The WTC


Cheney is scheduled to make a pre-recorded appearance on Fox News (where else?) on Sunday.

His interview will go over his severe objection into an investigation of the CIA's use of torture under the Bush administration.

One thing that is most apparent is the level of activity from the former vice president on the MSM although it is primarily Fox.

He is on the defense and the speculation as to why is fomenting. Recall that Cheney was a strong advocate of the private contractor-mercenary even in regards to information and secret intelligence gathering. The Bush administration was interested in outsourcing spying as it were.

For example, from the Washington Post on August 19, 2007-
The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon's top spying agency.

The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the DIA's plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department's intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors. source
Cheney is consumed with defending the culture of the CIA, he is concerned with moral at the CIA as a result of investigations.

Summing it up, Bush and Cheney wanted to privatize the intelligence branches and did so, by hiring private contractors to do that work. Now Cheney is defending the very institution that he wished to eliminate. That does not follow a logical progression.

McClatchy: Cheney condemns Obama's probe of CIA interrogations
A CIA inspector general's report released Monday documented how interrogators menaced "high-value" detainees with a gun and a power drill, threatened their families and used other methods that went beyond even the permissive interrogation rules set by the Bush administration Justice Department.

"The president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the land," Cheney said. "I think he's trying to duck the responsibility for what's going on here. And I think it's wrong."

"Saraband And Gavotte En Rondeau"

Segovia plays Bach

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harsher Strain Of Swine Flu

Anticipation for the flu season is growing. There are warnings out there for swine flu which has different strains. This may be the year to get a flu shot.

Reuters: WHO warns of severe form of swine flu
...goes straight to the lungs, causing severe illness in otherwise healthy young people...

It also disproportionately affects younger people...

"Data continue to show that certain medical conditions increase the risk of severe and fatal illness. These include respiratory disease, notably asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and immunosuppression..."

"Five Years On Mars"

Guillotines, Birthers, And Bachmann

McClatchy has done a good job of reporting on the rightwing fringe.

Their newest, talks of rightwing fears of Obama guillotine slave camps - easier to harvest organs that why, of course - sheesh.

McClatchy: Secret camps and guillotines? Groups make birthers look sane
He also says the government has stored 30,000 guillotines to murder its critics, and has stashed 500,000 caskets in Georgia and Montana for the remains.

Why guillotines? "Because," he wrote in a report obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, "beheading is the most efficient means of harvesting body parts."


"There is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service," Bachmann told a Minnesota radio station.

ACLU - FOIA Torture Documents

On August 24 2009 , the ACLU released documents obtained under the Freedom Of Information Act on torture and abuse of US prisoners in detention overseas.

ACLU: Documents Released Under FOIA

A few excerpts, click the images for a larger version:

Class Warfare And Health Care

This is a very interesting article from a deep operative.

It reveals how Apple's Steve Jobs moved to Memphis in order to get a desperately needed liver transplant.

Now, my disclaimer in that I like Jobs, I don't see him as a vampire because he is a member of the elite.

The article describes the real Memphis where gangs have carved up sections of the city and the police keep out of these sections - like Baghdad. This is the reality of many US cities as we know.

Basically its an article on class warfare and discrimination as it relates to many things especially health care. Jobs got his transplant in Memphis but the day to day living reality of the poor is excruciating and they are providing the organs. It reminds me of the shanty town in Cape Town.

The Exiled: Memphis: Where Steve Jobs Goes To Eat His Fellow Americans
The sickly Jobs owned that house long enough for him to become a Tennessee resident where the waiting list for a liver transplant is 48 days compared to over 300 on average in the rest of the country. He needed that liver, and he needed it now; and there just aren’t enough organs available in the promised land of California where he made his billions. He had to cross over into the land of the desperate, delusional and impoverished – the South, a land so poor that it now gets manufacturing jobs that used to be outsourced to Mexico and the Pacific rim of Asia.

CNN - Giraffe Manor

The Market On Friday

At 7:45 a.m. futures are slightly up.

Yesterday's news on the country's GDP for the second quarter was viewed as positive. The economy shrank at a rate of 1%. This exceeded the expectation that the actual number, as opposed to a estimated number, would be 1.5%. Optimism is returning for a day or two.
The U.S. economy appears to be emerging from its longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"The economy should enjoy something of a rebound over the next couple of quarters, as inventories are restocked and pent-up demand is released..." source
The price of oil is also slightly up so at the moment the stage is set for a morning of gains but, one never knows. An undisclosed piece of data of great importance could emerge and rattle the walls.

Reuters: Stock futures point to rise on Wall Street
Tiffany & Co is reporting second-quarter numbers, with analysts expecting earnings per share of 0.34 cents, down from 0.63 cents a year earlier
The rich appear to be hording their dough as well...

"Round Midnight"

Wes Montgomery

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

The DOW closed up for the eighth day in a row.

The price of oil rose $1.06, and that explains why.

Reuters: Japan's Nikkei rises 0.7 pct led by exporters

Mother-In-Law Sues Comedian Daughter-In-Law

What could we call this - ironic, contemporary, a sign of the times, retribution, about time, a waste of money and energy, silliness, contempt. Its all here.


Baker's Dozen

TPM has done a nice job of identifying the problem Democrats in the quest for a public option on health care.

TPM: Who Are the 13 Senate Democrats Holding Out On the Public Option?
The Haters

On the day the country mourned the death of health reform giant Ted Kennedy, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said that there are very few circumstances under which she could support a public option.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says he's a no.

Be A Friend

Become a friend of Sarah Palin on Facebook!

Sarah Palin

Sarah's most recent update -
FOX News' Glenn Beck is doing an extraordinary job this week walking America behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and outlining who is actually running the White House.

Monday night he asked us to invite one friend to watch; tonight I invite all my friends to watch.

-Sarah Palin
Oh dear.

CNN - Kennedy's Impact On Health Care

The Market On Thursday

Data on two essential barometers of the economy, unemployment and the revised GDP for the second quarter, will be available at 8:30 a.m.

The tone of the market for the day will be set then. Once again it will be a matter of finding a trend towards improvement.

If the numbers are especially bad, we will be reading about returned fears of economic instability and such and maybe a few days of volatility or worse.

If the numbers are trending in a positive way, the market will have enough fuel to finish out the week with some stability.

And finally neutral numbers will create a repeat of the recent sideways direction.

Oil is slightly down, so probably this more than anything will pull the DOW down.

Reuters: Stock futures edge lower ahead of GDP, jobs data
The second reading of gross domestic product in the second quarter, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT...

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits are expected to have dropped to 565, also expected at 8:30 a.m.

"BWV 1017"

Gould and Menuhin play Bach

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Thursday

Two flat days in a run and sideways is still good.

Oil is slightly down and when oil is down the market rarely rallies.

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.7 pct after rally, exporters slip



I saw this over at Raw Story

Everyone once in a while you run into an article by the right that is simply jaw dropping by greater than normal standards of how quickly and deeply the jaw drops.

Without going into too much detail, if you are trying to "understand" what the right is doing, or what activity they are up to, try this one on for size.

I seriously welcome and comments.

The American Spectator: Obama's Plan to Desecrate 9/11

Obama, Israel, Palestine, Iran

How do you read an article like this? Anybody?

Obama is about to get "peace" talks up and running in the Middle East.

The caveat to get Israel on board according to this article, is a hard line stance by the US against Iran on nuclear activity. And here I thought the last 8 years of neocons urging war in Iran was hardcore as can be. I am the ingrate.

How do you change deep seated warring based on micro and macro essential cultural, religious, personal, and revenge laden hatred conducted over decades?

Good luck...

One last thing -

In negotiations, when actor 1 wants a condition that is outside of the realm of the immediate focus - in this case Israel wants the US to obliterate Iran - is there any chance of a positive result.

Guardian UK: Barack Obama on brink of deal for Middle East peace talks
Key to bringing Israel on board is a promise by the US to adopt a much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

As well as a tougher US approach to Iran, which the Israelis see as their top priority, the deal would see Israel offering a temporary and partial moratorium on the expansion of settlements on the West Bank in return for moves by Arab states towards normalisation of relations.

CNN - Blame

The Market On Wednesday

At 7:30 a.m. futures are slightly down.

The stock market is cranking along and the DOW is presently perched at a new high for 2009 - 9539.

The way the market is responding lately reminds me of Russell Crowe in the end scene in the movie "The Gladiator." Crowe is about to fight the wicked emperor. He is clearly going to win as his fighting skills are superlative. He has only major flaw, the emperor has pushed a sword into his stomach.

Its up, its active, but its mortally wounded.

Reuters: Stock futures mostly lower ahead of durable goods data
The Commerce Department will release July durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m.

New home sales data for July is due at 10 a.m. EDT.

Senator Ted Kennedy Dies At Age 77

CNN: Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dies after cancer battle

"Gnossienne 3"

Pianist Janne Mertanen plays Satie. This is a repost and its still the best Satie performance on Youtube.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Cape Town"

Three Sheets

I like "Three Sheets", I like Zane, and I like the show's premise. This particular episode actually has a very disturbing political undercurrent.

In Cape Town, Zane goes to a shanty town to try the local brew. The shanty town has approximately one million inhabitants. The level of poverty is stunning, it is gut wrenching. These people are living in shacks and misery, its very disturbing.

The second disturbing scene is a bar in Cape Town where a particular type of alcohol is on tap. Its not the usual spigot we know. The liquid comes out of the anus of some stuffed deer or ram, only the hind section of the animal is mounted as a spigot. This is supposed to be funny. It is brutal, it is the lowest level of sadistic humor that is all too common. Where is the respect for life and where is dignity? One would like to see the bar owner's own ass mounted on the wall.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Wall Street went euphoric today because Bernanke is back for round 2. Bernanke pledges to help drain all remaining tax payer resources, right into the pockets of the elite. No bank must be left behind and all CEOs must get the normally bloated bonus or else.

Consumers are confident as hell except for the few million extra recent homeless. They are less confident. Something like 18% of the population thinks that the job market is improving. This 18% needs to do a meet and greet with Bush's 25%. They have much in common. Their offspring can join the ranks of Glenn Beck nation.

Reuters: Nikkei claws higher but gains limited, Toyota up


Governor Giuliani

When Giuliani "cleaned" up NYC he sent tons of marginal NYC people packing for upstate. Now the general neighborhood conditions in Albany are deteriorating at an alarming rate.

As governor, Giuliani can peacefully go walking throughout Albany and get mugged anywhere he wants.

NY Times: Giuliani, Seeing Opening, Mulls a Governor Bid

CNN - Torture

The Market On Tuesday

At 7:30 a.m. futures are slightly up.

Obama wants Bernanke back for a second term as Fed head. Thank goodness, because I just learned how to spell his name correctly.

It is a controversial choice. Bernanke oversaw, with perfect 20-20 hindsight, the worst recession in US history and the massive taxpayer give-away leave no bank behind program. In older times cruel and unusual punishment would normally follow. In modern times we rehire with a raise.

More housing data will be coming out this a.m. One might suspect that the housing data more than Bernanke's second tour will affect morning trade.

Reuters: Stock futures up on Bernanke news; housing data eyed
U.S. President Barack Obama will renominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Fed on Tuesday...

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

Jeff Beck

Monday, August 24, 2009

Julia Child Best Seller

The movie "Julie Julia" has turned Julia Child's masterwork on French cooking into a best seller.

Its a posthumous honor, she was great. When I did own a television, Saturday afternoon cooking shows were a favorite with me. Julia's show was delightful.

NY Times: After 48 Years, Julia Child Has a Big Best Seller, Butter and All

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

I can't recall a more sideways day on Wall Street.

The DOW gained 3 and the S&P lost .5.

When does the great Fall correction begin...

Reuters: Nikkei falls 0.6 pct after rally; exporters slip

"Mad Men"

Season three - episode 1

This is a very cool show.


How about that...

Yahoo: AP Source: Coroner rules Jackson's death homicide


Where It Hurts

How about that, there are recriminations for being a loud mouth idiot on TV.

Yahoo: Attack on Obama riles Beck's advertisers

CNN - Chicago Violence

The Market On Monday

At 7:40 a.m. on Monday, futures are up. World stocks are gaining as well.

Reuters: World stocks power to 10-month high
Monday's data showing a bigger-than-expected rebound in euro zone industrial new orders...
So the keyword today is "on hopes of a US recovery."

Sometimes reading the day to day financial reports feels like reading a supermarket tabloid. Much is based on intangibles like hope, fear, optimism, hearsay, and opinion.

Last week's data on housing, which was surprisingly good, is still turning heads. I would be curious to know how depressed housing prices along with the $8,000 credit for first time homeowners affected Friday's data.

Roubini's comments on his fears for a double dip recession are still reverberating.

Reuters: Stock futures rise on recovery hopes global stocks hit 10-month highs on hopes that the U.S. economy will soon start to recover from recession.

"...I think the biggest driver in today's market, at least in the early trade, is momentum and that momentum is positive..."

"The Future"

Beggars covering Leonard Cohen

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unassisted Triple Play

He catches the line drive - out one

Steps on second because the second base runner was moving to third - out two

Then he tags the runner from first base who is almost on second and should be planted on first - out three

The Mets had a hit and run on and it totally backfired. Its like Little League ball.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

The Nikkei is picking up where Wall Street left off on Friday. Japanese managers are back to expressing optimism. The cycle of optimism, to fears of economic weakness, to pessimism, to downright paranoia is beginning afresh.

Reuters: Nikkei climbs on recovery hopes, carmakers power up

Look, Roubini is on the money so far. So it behooves us to at least follow his warnings.

Reuters: Roubini warns of double-dip recession: report
..."damned if they do and damned if they don't" conundrum in trying to unwind their massive fiscal and monetary stimuli to keep the global economy from toppling into a depression.

He said that if policymakers try to fight rising budget deficits by raising taxes and cutting spending, they could undermine any recovery.


Three Sheets


Today's NYT op-ed piece on health insurance is a good breakdown of the demographics of the uninsured. Its informative.

We've watched the explosive town hall meetings and we are familiar with the string of misconceptions and lies out there. The lies come from the usual suspects.

One thing that is bugging me about the health insurance issue is this. Republicans are getting off the hook for all of the hideous egregious behaviors of the Bush administration.

Obama is rightfully out there to revise health care in the country. It cannot be denied that this is a major issue with major implications.

Yet, where is the heated activity over the revelations of Bush torture, Bush attempting to fix the election with terror alerts, Bush firing US attorneys, and on and on. As we know the list is massive.

I want to see more attention brought to prosecuting the criminality of the Bush administration. I don't really care what Republicans think about health care reform because they are the voice of big business alone.

Republicans are seizing health care opposition and getting off the hook with the past including their heavy hand in causing this calamitous recession.

NY Times: The Uninsured
No matter how you slice the numbers, there are tens of millions of people without insurance, often for extended periods, and there is good evidence that lack of insurance is harmful to their health.

If nothing is done to slow current trends, the number of people in this country without insurance or with inadequate coverage will continue to spiral upward.

Increased Homelessness

McClatchy has a strong article on increased homelessness in Washington D.C.

Many factors are involved in this increase but the recession is the central cause.

McClatchy: Homelessness grows in shadow of White House
"There's a lot of vets out here on the streets," he said. "I've seen men lay right in the middle of the road and people walk by like they're not there. If that was a whale, if that was a dog, wouldn't someone save it?"

"Now, because of the change in the economy, we get lots and lots of new homeless. They were working construction, menial retail, warehousing jobs, and they get laid off..."
I was curious to see what articles are out there on crime increasing as a result of the recession.

I used "recession crime increase" and "recession crime" as my Google keywords.

A few articles are -

Feb, 19, 2009: Rising crime could be the recession's next effect
A recent survey of 233 police departments by the Police Executive Research Forum found that 100 departments — 43 percent — reported rising levels of what they felt were recession-related crimes.
July 16, 2009: Recession-Related Crime Surges In Regions
Some areas of England and Wales are experiencing what appears to be a surge in recession-related crime.
Either I'm not finding the recent articles or they are not written yet. I suspect it is a problem.

One also has to wonder how the general mental health of people is doing these days.


Roisin Murphy

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Julie Julia"

We just saw "Julie Julia."

Hey, its a cute movie. The Julia Child portion of the story is compelling.

That sums it up. Two stories, one in the relative present, and one in the 50s. The 50s story is Julia Child learning French cooking in Paris and writing her masterpiece cookbook in Europe as she follows her US government employed husband from assignment to assignment during the reign of Senator McCarthy.

The other story is Julie, a young married NYC woman who blogs about cooking all of Julia Child's recipes from Child's masterpiece book over the course of one year. Julie is an unfulfilled writer and her blog becomes her "opus" and key to success. The movie itself is based on her work.

The two stories cut back and forth.

Meryl Streep as Julia Child acts the role one notch too high.

Its a feel good sweet and tender movie.

Be prepared to leave the theater with a ravenous appetite. Its a two point five to three star movie.

Arlen Specter Unplugged

Specter does comedy, and he is good.

Your Weekly Address

Pro Health Plan

McClatchy has a short list of supporting groups for health care change. Each group has its own angle and many do not agree on key points.

Why has the media done such a poor job of identifying these groups and reporting on their support and activity. Could it be that shouting and gun toting crazies make for better TV or is there a conservative bias in the news?

McClatchy: It's been hard to tell, but health plan does have supporters
Supporters include groups with names such as PhRMA, AHIP, SEIU, AMA and AARP. Others are Health Care for America NOW, Americans for Stable Quality Care, Divided We Fail, Better Health Care Together and Partnership for Quality Care.

July Unemployment

"Sunny Afternoon"

The Kinks

Friday, August 21, 2009

Roubini on NPR

NPR: 'Dr. Doom' Economist On Prospects For Recovery
RAZ: You're known as Dr. Doom. You famously predicted our current financial turmoil or the one that we might be coming out of. Is Chairman Ben Bernanke correct? Is our economy leveling out?

Prof. ROUBINI: It's likely too optimistic, in my view. It's true that the economy is not in the same free fall that it had in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year, but an analysis of the microeconomic data from the labor market to consumers to the housing market suggested that we're not yet at the end of this recession.

In my view, the recession's going to be over at the end of the year rather than now, and the recovery's going to be very anemic for a couple of years.

RAZ: But we are starting to pull out of it now.

Prof. ROUBINI: We are, in the sense that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and this recession may be closer to the end by the end of the year than it is right now.

RAZ: Are you surprised at how quickly the recovery seems to have started? I mean, you were talking about a dire global economic pandemic, you know, lasting through 2009. That doesn't seem likely anymore, right?

Prof. ROUBINI: Well, in my view, this recession is going to be the worst recession the U.S. has experienced in the last 60 years. Last year, the debate was among those in the consensus who said that this will be V-shaped, short contraction and rapid recovery lasting only eight months, and those like myself and others, who suggested it'll be more like a U, long, deep and protracted and lasting 24 months.

Now, we're already in the 20th month of this recession. Today there is an official data. It is the worst we have had by any standards already.


The Daily Show

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Bomber Release

Recall that the Bush administration used Libya as a center piece in its war on terror.

Libya went from bad terrorist country, to good cooperative country. This was a big Bush victory.

Now the Lockerbie bomber is released and guess what, he is given a hero's welcome in Libya.

What exactly does that mean? Maybe Bush was - FOS? Watch the clip.

BBC: Anger at Lockerbie bomber welcome

CNN - Terror Alert Game Playing By Bush

The Market On Friday

Its a good day to insulate the entrance way. I am putting a total of R-60 in the ceiling. What the hell.

At 8 a.m. futures are up.

Investors are expecting to hear good news today. Bernanke is speaking on the economy at 10 a.m. and government data on housing sales for July is also due out at 10 a.m.

Unless some undisclosed information comes out after that or before that 10 a.m. period, the market will be responding quickly to Bernanke and housing.

It would seem that the market can't really support much more in terms of gains. It is maxed out given the incredibly cold quality to the recessions alleged reversal.

One thing to remember for today is that oil is up again to around $73 per barrel.

Reuters: Stock futures rise ahead of Bernanke, housing data
Bernanke is scheduled to speak to a gathering in Jackson Hole...

U.S. sales of existing homes likely rose to their highest level in 10 months in July...

"Solid Potato Salad"

The Ross Sisters - Watch the gymnastics after the first minute, unbelievable.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bolt Is Amazing

After setting a world record in the 100m days ago, Bolt today set a blistering 200m world record of 19.19.

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

Oil is up which is a key element in today's gains.
Oil prices optimism for economic recovery and rising fuel demand outweighed a rise in new U.S. jobless claims. source
Reuters: JGB futures rise to 5-month high as Nikkei sags

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Obama, Ridge, And Gains

The DOW and S&P gained today despite bad unemployment numbers. The financial articles are attributing it all to strength in US manufacturing and strength in China's economy. It would be interesting to get the full report on American jobs lost to China.

Tom Ridge is writing that he was pressured to raise the level on the monkey boy terror threat chart in order to help re-elect Bush. Its really simple, the Bush administration was a disgrace from the top down.

Obama is talking like health care reform will pass. I say great. I also say with the public option, thank you. And finally I say who the hell cares about these screwy birther, death panel, fear mongering people. Earth to Obama, you won by a landslide and there is a dominant Democratic Senate and Congress. Who cares what Republicans are thinking. Really, who cares.

Jobless Claims Rise

This is just plain dreadful.

More and more unemployment is bad in so many directions: personal, family, friends, and larger economic and living standards. We are talking about rising poverty, rising foreclosures, crime increasing, and a growing general malaise.

This is to a certain degree expected, and we know that, but it is still ugly.

This could throw a wrench in today's market activity which up to this point has been positive.

CNN: Jobless claims in surprise rise
There were 576,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended Aug. 15, up from a revised 561,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said in a weekly report.

CNN - The Guitar Of The Future Today

The Market On Thursday

At 7:00 a.m. futures are slightly up.

Oil is staying firm around $72 per barrel and there seems to be a level of emotional calm in the equities articles.

Everybody is looking to China. China incidentally is moving to have public health care for all of its citizens who number approximately six times the population of the USA.

Reuters: Stock futures signal gains; eyes on commods
Oil was steady above $72 a barrel on Thursday, after rising more than 4 percent the previous day, buoyed by industry data showing a steep drop in crude imports and stockpiles in top consumer the United States.

"Steppin' Out"

Joe Jackson

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Thursday

The Nikkei opened higher on Thursday, great.

Anyhow baby boomers are still getting stoned!


And here I thought they were just getting drunk.

Reuters: Baby boomers still getting high
Middle aged baby boomers are still turning on to illegal drugs forty years after Woodstock...
Reuters: Nikkei up, nudged up by resources and oil


Tibetan Yoga Masters

Fascinating look into the world of the Tibetan Lamas.

Assault Rifle Publicity Stunt Was Planned With Police

Barney Frank On Health Care

Barney gets off a few good ones here.

Human Rights Abuses In Afghanistan

Extreme religious fundamentalism is such a drag on humanity.

This is just plain nauseating.

Notice that the new laws were signed but Karzai. Recall Bush toting Karzai around everywhere like a new found toy during his all too painfully long regime.

NY Times: Afghan Husbands Win Right to Starve Wives
Last week, though, Human Rights Watch discovered that a revised version of the Shiite Personal Status Law had been quietly put into effect at the end of July — meaning that Shiite men in Afghanistan now have the legal right to starve their wives if their sexual demands are not met and that Shiite women must obtain permission from their husbands to even leave their houses, “except in extreme circumstances.”

The new law was signed by President Hamid Karzai...

CNN - Bully Proof

Ah, if only it were true...

The Market On Wednesday

At 7:40 a.m. futures are down.

The complexity of the economy is catching up with the Wall Street rally of the past few months.

One theory has the market euphorically rallying on recovery signs, yet the recovery is not the recovery we want. The recovery is weak in GDP growth, jobless with increasing residential and commercial foreclosures, and government debt laden. Therefore, the rally is looking pretty naked and self-conscious standing up there all by itself with no supportive friends.

My advice is to enjoy the summer.

Reuters: Stock futures point lower after China-led sell-off
...renewed selling in global equity markets on fears stock prices have a run too far ahead of the economic reality.

...Warren Buffet...warned that although the United States was on the road to recovery, public debt was becoming unsustainable after government measures to stimulate the economy...

"For Once In My Life"

Stevie Wonder

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Can It get Worse? Yes

Its easy to understand where this WaPo article is going.

Millions of unemployed will lead, and is leading to many more foreclosures.

The recession is far from over.

WaPo: Unemployment Spike Compounds Foreclosure Crisis
Economists estimate that 1.8 million borrowers will lose their homes this year, up from 1.4 million last year, according to Moody's

"It's much easier to bash lenders than to create jobs."

Nikkei Opens Flat On Wednesday

What a day, Novak dies and Robin Wright Penn files for divorce.

We can leave the dead alone. Didn't like Novak's politics or TV demeanor one little bit. But you know people have a public persona and a private persona. All I know about is his public persona. He served Bush and the neo-cons well.

Reuters: Nikkei almost flat after Wall Street rise


Down Home Up

When investors saw that Home Depot posted a swell second quarter report they flipped.

They loved it, they had to have more.

Bad Lowe's sent them packing yesterday, but Home Depot made them weep with joy, today.

The DOW gained 80+, that's nice.

The basic problem right now is that nobody really wants to see the markets drop, yet there is not really a compelling reason for them to rise or to stay where they are. So, what to do. One scenario seems to be the oscillation, up, down, up.

Reuters: Wall Street regains ground
...better-than-expected results from big retailers...

...the market balanced that off with Home Depot...

Novak Dies

CNN: Columnist Robert Novak dies at 78

CNN - Gun Toting Obama Protesters

This is really going to help.

The Market On Tuesday

At 7:45 a.m. futures are up.

Data on housing starts in July is expected to be improved. How improved is the question. Will it be giddy improved or ho hum improved.

Now the articles are saying that investors are trigger happy, and that the pull back on last Friday and yesterday was just the result of the jitters. The jitters are left over from August 2007 and 2008. The economic trauma seen in those months still causes investors to freak out.
(in August 2008) ...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started wobbling at the precipice while AIG...

Monday was an ugly day, but investors should try to rein in their anxiety about what it means for such big-picture questions as what shape the economic recovery will take. That’s because a battle between bulls and bears, which typically emerges at economic turning points, has taken hold of financial markets — meaning today’s worries about the global economy are likely to morph into tomorrow’s worries about too much stimulus creating dangerous asset bubbles.
Reuters: Stock futures point higher, housing starts seen rising
...ahead of data expected to show housing starts rose to their highest level in eight months.

"Needles And Pins"

The Searchers

It always sounded like - needles and pins-za. Its what a songwriter does when an extra syllable is needed. Just add it-it-it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

No surprise here as the Nikkei follows the DOW in a day to forget.

They say that the "v" word is back -

Reuters: CBOE Volatility Index soars as Wall St slumps
...a sign that investors expect more gyrations in the U.S. stock market in the near term.
The bear is re-arising. With the increased heat wave in the Northeast, Wall St is burning.

Reuters: Nikkei slips as exporters sold, eyes on China
...nervous investors locked in profits and turned their eyes to the moves of Chinese shares...



We saw this coming. The DOW, S&P, and every market sank today. The DOW dropped like a ton of bricks hearkening back to March when it dropped like a ton of bricks every day.

They say it had to do with Japan's poor recovery from the recession and Lowe's building supplies showing weak second quarter sales.

And here I thought I was keeping Lowe's afloat all by myself. I've bought practically everything the store has to offer and I'm looking for more. Yeah, I got that, and that too.

How long is this fall going to last.

Reuters: Wall St sinks as recovery hopes hurt
"The GDP number in Japan sort of got things started when it missed this morning..."

CNN - China's Interior Economy Grows

The Market On Monday

World stocks are way down ahead of Wall Street's 9 a.m. bell, and stock futures are down as well.

The financial articles sum it up in this way. The equities run of the past few months is over.

The question that occurs is how far will it slide and for how long.

According to Reuters, there is a big sell off in the works.

It could get ugly. Wait a minute, its already ugly.

So is it back to panic mode again? For at least a few hours this morning it would seem to be, yes. Beyond that, some piece of data needs to come along that says - I love you.

Reuters: Stock futures point to drop as world stocks sink
...mounting worries equities' recent surge had run ahead of the global economic recovery.

"Baby, I Need Your Love"

The Four Tops

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

Yes, a new week, and it is time to get back to...something.

The stock market is the game. Right now, the players have squeezed the living beegeesus out of corporate reports and a continued chorus of recession over overture.

The last drop was wrung out last Thursday because Friday ran on empty once again.

You can't say the recession is over just one day of the week and expect the stock market to be compliant. It has to be told its over, many many times and each and every day.

Its like someone you love. You say I love you every day or else, they might think its over, the last I love you from August 8 does not cover you now.

So the stock market is back in a panic. Is it over, is it really over, prove it to me or I'm leaving...
"The markets are going to be looking at what kind of signal we're getting on the consumer sector. Because of high unemployment and the high savings rate, there are (worries) that consumer spending is going to be weak..." source
Reuters: Japan's Nikkei falls 0.7 pct, dented by exporters
...after weak U.S. consumer sentiment data fueled concerns about the strength of any economic recovery.

Usain Bolt

New world record in the 100m set today - 9.58 seconds - holy shite!

Bolt is 6'5" tall.

MSNBC - Health Care

She's On Medicare But Is Afraid On Obama

Medicare was enacted in 1965. President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, was in office.

This woman is on medicare, a program initiated by Democrats and now she is out there tooth and nail opposed to another Democratic initiative from another Democratic president.

If you asked this person to add 1 plus 1, what answer would we get?

Here's what I would like to suggest. All birther death panel people, AKA Republicans, can turn in their social security, medicare, ability to drive on freeways, and the huge list of Democratic initiatives, and then go live in some other country.

Record High Ocean Temperatures In July

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is reporting above average ocean temperatures in July.

We are aware that Arctic ice is melting as temperatures increases.

NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July
The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998 according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880.

Large portions of many continents had substantially warmer-than-average temperatures during July 2009. The greatest departures from the long-term average were evident in Europe, northern Africa, and much of western North America. Broadly, across these regions, temperatures were about 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) above average.

Cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across southern South America, central Canada, the eastern United States, and parts of western and eastern Asia. The most notably cool conditions occurred across the eastern U.S., central Canada, and southern South America where region-wide temperatures were nearly 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) below average.

Arctic sea ice covered an average of 3.4 million square miles during July. This is 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the third lowest July sea ice extent on record, behind 2007 and 2006. Antarctic sea ice extent in July was 1.5 percent above the 1979-2000 average. July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979, while July Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.8 percent per decade over the same period.


Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, and Willie Nelson

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"I've Got Facts On My Side and You've Got Glenn Beck On Your Side!"

WaPo On The Right Wing

The Washington Post has done a fine job of piecing together a short list of right wing lunacy through the decades.

We're happy to see legitimate reporting on the absurd claims coming out of the right.

WaPo: In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition - Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage
...America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.

...there were right-wingers claiming access to secret documents from the 1920s proving that the entire concept of a "civil rights movement" had been hatched in the Soviet Union

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora.

CNN - Begala On Palin


The NY Times did a puff piece on the new trend for young hipster men, a potbelly.


Its hip to be portly. Who knew. And here after all my years of conscientiously watching my diet and trying to stay near high school weight, I was ignorantly being uncool.

I, am the ingrate.

NY Times: It’s Hip to Be Round unexpected element has been added to the look, and that is a burgeoning potbelly one might term the Ralph Kramden.

Leading with a belly is a male privilege of long standing, of course, a symbol of prosperity in most cultures and of freedom from anxieties about body image that have plagued women since Eve.
And on a related note -

Telegraph: Obese US man hid gun between rolls of fat