Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Its a rare moment in the Nikkei where it is gaining directly after a day when the DOW lost 82. In the last year or so this is a freak event. The Nikkei usually follows the direction of the DOW "to a tee."

Generally it was a day to forgive and forget.

Reuters: Nikkei claws higher, view of BOJ tankan mixed
...largely directionless trade...

"Dead Again"

With Kenneth Branaugh, Andy Garcia, and Emma Thompson

TPMtv

Franken - Frank In

Hey, not only did I get my old desktop finally connected with a wireless adapter (after about 3 hours of effort and representatives in India and Verizon) but Al Franken is in.

How about that.

CNN: Court declares Franken the winner of Minnesota Senate race

Consumer Non Confidence

Turns out consumer confidence data AKA how much money you spent in June you ingrate, was down.

Stocks may follow the trend. In this instance green shoots are now reversing the principles of botany.

Reuters: Wall Street falls on consumer confidence data
...consumer confidence fell in June after a sharp rise in May.

Consumer spending amounts to roughly two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

CNN - Searching For Work

"Earth Democracy"

ZNET has a fine article by Mike Epitropoulos on the problems connected with globalization. This is an interesting critique that touches on its problems and then goes onto the ideas that generate a living beneficial culture.

ZNET: Society & Nature By Mike Epitropoulos
It (Globalization) has clearly failed to improve the lives of most people around the world. ‘Free trade' has only benefited an exclusive group. Also, globalization's promise of Peace, too, has failed, and instead has given us the twin evils of Terrorism and War.

Nothing is sacred - no individual rights, no duties and social responsibilities for governments - nothing but the market.

"fundamentalism and xenophobia emerge as the handmaidens of globalization..."

(Vandana) Shiva has also endorsed the "Slow Food" movement and "Terra Madre," which is a gathering of small producers who refuse to disappear in a world where globalization has written off diversity of species & cultures, small producers, local economies, and indigenous knowledge. Their aims are to share diverse seeds; live diverse cultures; speak diverse languages; and celebrate diverse food traditions.

The Market On Tuesday

This morning futures are slightly up and its the end of the quarter.

Data on manufacturing and consumer confidence are expected to show improvements. Right now its a green shoots are holding day.

On the surface, signs are pointing to another day of gains. But that can change...

Reuters: Dollar falls as risk appetite improves
...gains in stock markets and oil prices reflected an upbeat view on the prospects of global economic recovery.
Reuters: Stock futures point to a higher start
...S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for April at 9 a.m.

...releases June index of manufacturing activity at 9:45 a.m.

At 10 a.m. EDT the Conference Board releases June consumer confidence.

"Jumpin Jive"

Cab Calloway

Monday, June 29, 2009

Celebration In Iraq

US forces pulled out of Iraqi cities and into bases outside cities.

Iraqis celebrated the move.

Yahoo: Fireworks over Baghdad as Iraqis take over cities
"The withdrawal of American troops is completed now from all cities after everything they sacrificed for the sake of security," said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "We are now celebrating the restoration of sovereignty."

Nikkei Opens Higher On Tuesday

Today optimism was back as the DOW gained over 90.

In this case optimism is code for oil priced higher per barrel, touching $72.

We would be pleased to see the real and final bottom to the recession. Later this week more clues to this elusive, solid, and lowly plateau will come forward with new data on consumer spending and jobs.

Reuters: Nikkei climbs 2 percent, oil boosts resource shares
"It may be overly optimistic, but I think the market mood is changing, that the economic data that both the United States and Japan are waiting for later this week will confirm that their economies have bottomed out..."

TPMtv

Madoff Gets 150 Years

Swindling is big. Hopefully Madoff's sentence will give second thoughts to a few who are pursuing this way of stealing money.

150 years for swindling $65 billion, that comes out to about $433,333, 333. per year.

Reuters: Madoff gets 150 years for massive investment fraud
...his victims called him a "beast," an "animal" and a "lowlife."

"I will live with this pain, with this torment, for the rest of my life," he (Madoff) calmly said. "I live in a tormented state knowing the pain and suffering I have created."

Junk - Made In China

Its simple, China exports tons of things for US consumers. Some of this stuff is more than just junk, anyone can see that, its also dangerous.

The article gets into some of the recalls and the list is telling, bikes whose wheels break, seat belts that break, and on and on.

When I see made in China I cringe. We bought a phone set from Radio Shack this last weekend. The made in China products did not even work coming out of the box. Radio Shack was fortunately good about accepting the return, but its still frustrating leg work. They also confirmed that the stuff was defective. I browsed the internet for reviews of the original phone set and saw "half a star, one star, this is junk," etc etc. My bad for shopping without researching properly.

McClatchy: China makes most faulty U.S. goods, but penalties are rare
Chinese manufacturers made more than half of the goods that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled last year, but few of them paid any price for producing defective wares.

Yet many Chinese manufacturers also evade trial in the U.S. simply by persuading judges that their companies had no substantial business presence in the states in which they've been sued.

Roughly 40 percent of imported U.S. consumer goods are from China.

CNN - US Troops Leave Iraqi Cities

The Market On Monday

Hey, Madoff gets sentenced today. One down, several thousand more to go. Swindling is in vogue.

This week its all about new data which will or will not support the sense that the recession is easing. The DOW and S&P will reflect the data.

Investors and the rest of us will look at consumer confidence ratings and job numbers. The job number will show that the stream of layoffs continues but hopefully it is slowing. We all hope that is the case, but hope is not really relevant, its a cruel unforgiving animal.

Offering a guess based on the trends and last few months, one might suspect that the data will be at the minimum, ever so slightly better. It is possible that the trend will be better but simultaneously disappointing. This is likely, but you never know, although someone out there has a handle on it now.

Reuters: Stock futures flat to higher as data awaited later in week
...investors looked for signs to justify earlier optimism...

"Addicted To Love"

Robert Palmer

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nikkei Is Flat On Monday

Monday is the day when the Nikkei plays leader rather than follow the leader, roughly.

Its going to be a lively week with significant data either supporting the notion of "green shoots" or not. Also its a shortened week with the July 4th weekend coming up.

Let the games resume, its my favorite sport.

Reuters: Nikkei virtually flat, exporters dip
...data showed that industrial output rose less than expected in May...

Face To Face

Commenting on Facebook, I must say it is interesting to connect with people that one has not seen or heard from in roughly thirty years or more.

Its a warming feeling, it is tender.

If you haven't tried it, its okay. Even recluses like yours truly can do it, and if I can do it, anybody can do it.

The Bush Legacy Continues


Allow me to use this McClatchy article on another Bush administration legacy leg, as a springboard for insulting Ann Coulter. Why not, she needs it. She also needs a particular procedure with a baseball bat, sponge baseball bat of course. (Recall Coulter describing the murdered abortion providers as having had a procedure with a rifle.)

Essentially the 2007 built US Army Corp bridge that connects Afghanistan to Tajikistan is now a major drug pipeline for heroin, Afghanistan's major export. No need for further sarcasm at this juncture.

Recall Coulter, Bush's essential cheerleader, describing the Afghanistan war as progressing "swimmingly." We now know she was referring to the Bush-Cheney waterboarding torture tactics.

McClatchy: U.S.-built bridge is windfall — for illegal Afghan drug trade
Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber: It's paved the way for drug traffickers to transport larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond to Russia and Western Europe.

CNN - Getting Out Of Iraq

A Genuine Revolution

Michael Jackson's death temporarily removed a country's possible revolution from the news headlines. His death was the top story, followed with such intensity that it affected the way the internet functions.

The Reuters article expresses my initial reaction to the revolution. First, that it would be suppressed, and second that the underlying roots of the uprising will grow and eventually have enough momentum to create change in Iran.

Reuters: It’s not a Twitter revolution in Iran
... the vast majority of Iranians have no access to Twitter...A relatively small number of young, economically well off Iranians do use Twitter. A larger number have access to the Internet. However, in the beginning, most demonstrations were organized through word of mouth, mobile phone calls and text messaging.

They organized silent marches through word of mouth and phone calls since the government had shut down text messaging just prior to the election. Contrary to popular perception, these gatherings included women in chadors, workers and clerics – not just the Twittering classes.

It’s a genuine Iranian mass movement made up of students, workers, women, and middle class folks. It may not be strong enough to topple the system today but is sowing the seeds for future struggles.

"When I Paint My Masterpiece"

The Band

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Something Wild"

1986 - Jonathan Demme

Alphabet

Next Week On Wall Street

The theme that is being repeated lately has to do with the alleged green shoots.

Investors know that the severity of the recession has eased, these are the green shoots. Some of the signs are improved consumer confidence and some better than expected housing starts and older home sales. One might suspect that the improved consumer confidence and consequent spending is key since this accounts for a major part of economic activity.

We know unemployment is off the charts. Investors are looking to see if there is any sign of the trend easing.

What we are now seeing is investors wanting more signs that the green shoots are taking hold and on some days it looks like it has and on other days, no deal. The market's day to day rise and fall has often been attributed to this reasoning, green shoots are good - green shoots are withering. The day to day economic data that investors parse is inconsistent, some days its good, some days its bad.

Wall Street is closed on Friday for the July 4th weekend. Shorter weeks are historically more volatile.

Reuters: Stocks eye jobs, other data in July 4th week
Investors will pick apart the job figures and reams of other economic data released during this four-day week to assess if recent signs of stabilization point to a sustainable economic recovery.

While unpleasant surprises may trigger a long-awaited correction, analysts said evidence of further economic stabilization would make the bulls grow bolder and help stocks break out of their recent consolidation range.

Obama's Weekly Address

Climate

Michael Jackson's death is still dominating the news sites and cycle. CNN's main headline this morning describes Jackson's body being moved to a mortuary. One can imagine that his funeral will be very large with many well known celebrities in attendance and thousands upon thousands of fans.

There is a story floating around about an assault in Florida set off by mention of Jackson's death. This was the only story of its kind reported nationally, I think, but there probably were hundreds of more similar incidents.

People often have more conviction about music and the arts than anything else. When we read music, art, or film reviews there is more passionate opinion expressed than if the world were coming to an end. Its also far more cleverly expressed, whereas political reviews with a few notable exceptions are somewhat dry. People hold their aesthetic notions in a place that is internally higher than just about anything else, even sex, religion, or politics. You can be an expert on pop culture and clueless on neocon culture. That is the way it is.

Entertainment is a huge deal. Personal artistic principles are an even bigger deal. It can get pretty smug out there real fast if the style doesn't jive. The attacks can get violent and intensely personal. Artists need thick skins to make a move because the venom can be paralyzing.

Its a cultural ritual. Jackson was eviscerated, dissected, inspected, approved, copied, and rejected. That's mortally fatiguing.

The climate bill passed Congress, now it goes onto the Senate. In the Senate it will be adjusted and rewritten. The idea of the bill in general is to reduce heat trapping gases. The idea is to try to stave off climate change. Some voted against the measure because it didn't go far enough, like Kucinich. Some voted against the measure because they are walking fruitcakes, like Michele Bachmann. The vote was close 219 to 212. That is a scary reality.

McClatcht: Historic climate bill passes House in a close vote
"This is a revolution. This is a moment in history," he said. "This is what the American people were calling for in the election in 2008, a fundamental change that breaks our dependence on foreign oil, creates job and reduces the pollution we put up in the atmosphere."

"Aria"

Glenn Gould plays Bach

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Scream"


(Michael)
Tired of injustice
Tired of the schemes
Kinda disgusted
So what does this mean?
Kicking me down(and i)
I got to get up
As jacked as it sounds
The whole system sucks (dammit)

(Janet)
Peek in the shadow
Come into the light
You tell me I'm wrong
Then you better prove you're right
You're sellin out souls but
I care about mine
I've got to get stronger
And I won't give up the fight
(Michael)
With such confusions don't it make you wanna scream
Your bash abusin victimize within the scheme
(Janet)
You try to cope with every lie they scrutinize
(Both)
Somebody please have mercy
Cause I just can't take it
Stop pressurin me
Just stop pressurin me
Stop pressurin me
Make me wanna scream
Stop pressurin me
Just stop pressurin me
Stop pressurin me
Make you just wanna scream

(Michael)
Tired of you tellin the story your way
It's causin confusion
You think it's okay

(Janet)
You Keep changin the rules
While I keep playin the game
I can't take it much longer
I think I might go insane

(Michael)
With such confusion don't it make you wanna scream
Your bash abusin victimize within the scheme
(Janet)
You find your pleasure scandalizin every lie
(Both)
Oh father, please have mercy cause I just can't take it
Stop pressurin me
Just stop pressurin me
Stop pressurin me
Make me wanna scream
Stop pressurin me
Just stop pressurin me
Stop fuckin with me
Make me wanna scream

(Janet)
"Oh my God, can't believe what I saw
As I turned on the TV this evening
I was disgusted by all the injustice
All the injustice"
(Michael)
"All the injustice"

(News Man)
"A man has been brutally beaten to death by
Police after being wrongly identified as a
Robbery suspect. The man was
An 18 year old black male..."

(Michael)
With such collusions don't it make you wanna scream
Your bash abusin' victimize within the scheme
(Janet)
You try to cope with every lie they scrutinize
(Both)
Oh brother please have mercy'Cause I just can't take it
Stop pressurin meJust stop pressurin' me
Stop pressurin meMake me wanna scream
Stop pressurin meJust stop pressurin' me
Stop pressurin meMake me wanna scream
Stop pressurin meJust stop pressurin' me
Stop pressurin meMake me wanna scream
Stop pressurin meJust stop pressurin' me
Stop pressurin meMake me wanna scream

TPMtv

Norway Proposing Wind Energy At Sea



The government of Norway is coming up with a proposal for developing wind energy farms based in the adjoining seas.

This is a new development in that the type of wind turbines now being developed for this project are capable of being used in deep waters, not just shallow near shore waters.

Although it is a leading exporter of oil, Norway's electricity comes from water power plants and through its grid connections to Scandinavian countries.

Reuters: Norway proposes sea-based wind power
Norway's state-controlled StatoilHydro is developing floating wind turbines -- they could be used in far deeper waters, perhaps to help power offshore oil and gas platforms or transmit power to land.

Norway is the world's number six oil exporter and western Europe's biggest gas exporter and needs to diversify to renewable energies to reach goals of fighting climate change.
CNET News from June 12, 2009: First floating wind turbine buoyed off Norway
The Hywind turbine will still have a ballast that is tied to the sea floor with cables. Wires will transfer the electricity produced to the mainland grid starting in July.

If successful, the project could open up offshore wind to countries that don't have relatively shallow waters of 100 feet to 165 feet off their coasts. The Hywind is suitable for depths of about 400 feet to more than 2,200 feet.

The turbine in Norway will be 7.4 miles offshore where the water is 721 feet deep. It will be utility-size turbine, with a hub height of about 100 feet, capable of generating 2.3 megawatts of electricity.

Graduating During The Recession

The day has a sober feel to it or so it seems. Its raining where I live, this accentuates that quality.

Looking into the ways that the recession affects different people working in different sectors, McClatchy is reporting on the prospects for recent college graduates.

The prospects are the lowest in decades, but many do find work.

McClatchy: Another recession casualty: Recent college graduates
...during the first four months of 2009, less than half of the nation's 4 million college graduates age 25 and under were working in jobs that required a college degree.

CNN - Neda's Family

The Market On Friday

The most noticeable point in today's Reuters article on the condition of futures comes from J.P.Morgan. They are saying that the S&P 500 will drop roughly 100 points by September.

At the same time they are suggesting that investors use that period to accumulate more assets. So on the one hand its possibly a warning and a possible opportunity.

Futures are slightly down.

Reuters: Futures point to weak open after strong session
The S&P 500 index .SPX is likely to fall to between 830 and 875 through September, given its virtually uninterrupted rise since its March lows, J.P. Morgan Securities said...

"In Bloom"

Nirvana

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP - Michael Jackson

Just read he passed away.

CNN: Michael Jackson Dies

TPMtv

Bernanke Boosts

The DOW rose 172 and the S&P rose 19, on a day when jobless claims for last week came in at 627,000.

That's more people than in the all of Alaska. The country is hemorrhaging jobs, and right now I am still wondering how many of those jobs are going overseas. Not going to be shy here, how many times in the past has a calamity been used to mask the real goings on. Okay, so maybe I am a little paranoid, and you're not, you ingrate.

So another week of job hemorrhage didn't slow the DOW because the real green shoot of the day was Bernanke's performance before Congress.

This is like a mafia boss sending off rounds of drinking in Brooklyn bars because he wise-guyed some Congressman from Jersey.

The market jumps on Bernanke's testimony, what kind of crap is that...

Reuters: Bernanke testimony boosts Wall Street
Stocks jumped on Thursday as investors were relieved that Ben Bernanke weathered a congressional hearing well.
Reuters: Jobless claims, note auction bolster bonds
The U.S. Labor Department reported first-time filings for jobless benefits climbed to 627,000 in the week ended June 20 from an upwardly revised 612,000 in the previous week. Analysts had forecast a reading of 600,000.

The Daily Show - Gov Sanford

More On Public Health Paln

The Commonwealth Fund has issued a report on a public health care program.

They find that such a plan would save nearly $2 trillion.

They could have just asked any of us.

Reuters: Public health plan could save money faster: policy group
A nationwide health insurance exchange that includes a Medicare-like government option could save $1.8 trillion more than if only private plans are offered, a prominent private U.S. health policy group said on Wednesday.

CNN - Buffett On The Economy

The Market On Thursday

The week is flying by again, it must be something in the water.

Futures are ever so slightly up this morning. I'm hoping a sideways type of day can at least be salvaged.

If the economic data that will be released at 8:30am is reasonable it might even exceed sideways. That is a big "if."

On the other hand, this could get ugly real fast.

Here's a question for you. We have huge layoffs going on. Corporations are shedding their workforces. This is occurring all over the country. Has anybody looked into the possibility that corporations are using the recession and layoff trend as a smokescreen in order to reform their operation in China? We know somebody has got to be doing this, right. This is the conservative-neocon way, use a disaster as a shield to pull off the maneuver you really want.

Reuters: Stock futures point to flat open as data in focus
"The market will be on hold until we navigate through some of the economic data that will be forthcoming this morning..."

"Be-Bop-A-Lula"

Gene Vincent

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fox News Calls Mark Sanford A Democrat


Adding to their ongoing series of labeling hypocritical Republican politicians as Democrats, Fox News did it again today with Mark Sanford.

Curious thing, would you agree. It "almost" seems intentional.

Notice the bid "D" in the screen grab from Media Matters.

"The Last Of The Mohicans"

Any film with Madeleine Stowe is okay with us.

Weak Recovery

The Organisation For Economic Co-operation And Development has issued a report on the world economy.

Reuters: U.S. recession to bottom out this year: OECD
...recession will bottom out this year, but any recovery will be weak due to anemic markets and shrunken consumer wealth...

...U.S. national output will contract 2.8 percent in 2009 but grow 0.9 percent in 2010.
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria

CNN - Cancer Insurance Nightmare

Coinciding with the discussion on a public health care system -

Obama's Remarks On The Economy

Obama hit three major points in yesterday's press conference, Iran, green energy, and health care.

Here are his full opening comments on energy. Legislation that "paves the way" for a green energy revolution of sorts is in the docks.

Here he pumps that legislation as part of his vision for long term goals for the country.

McClatchy: Obama's opening remarks at news conference 6-23-09
This week, the House of Representatives is moving ahead on historic legislation that will transform the way we produce and use energy in America. It is legislation that will finally spark a clean energy transformation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and confront the carbon pollution that threatens our planet.

This energy bill will create a set of incentives that will spur the development of new sources of energy, including wind, solar, and geothermal power. It will also spur new energy savings, like efficient windows and other materials that reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.

These incentives will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy. And that will lead to the development of new technologies that lead to new industries that could create millions of new jobs in America - jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.

At a time of great fiscal challenges, this legislation is paid for by the polluters who currently emit the dangerous carbon emissions that contaminate the water we drink and pollute the air we breathe. It also provides assistance to businesses and communities as they make the gradual transition to clean energy technologies.

This legislation is extraordinarily important for our country, and has taken a great effort on the part of many over the course of months. I want to thank the Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Henry Waxman; his colleagues on that committee, Congressmen John Dingell, Ed Markey, and Rick Boucher. I also want to thank Charlie Rangel, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, and Collin Peterson, the Chair of the Agriculture Committee, for their many and ongoing contributions to this process. I also want to express my appreciation to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

We all know why this is so important. The nation that leads in the creation of a clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy. That is what this legislation seeks to achieve - it is a bill that will open the door to a better future for this nation. And that is why I urge members of the House to come together and pass it.

The Market On Wednesday

Financial articles in general are very skittish in that they report on the moment to moment goings on of Wall Street but generally do not provide a broad context or plateau for the overall state of the economy. This is of course obvious and simultaneously somewhat difficult to follow.

Its difficult to follow because from day to day we could very easily be drawn into the sudden emotional turnings of investors as they moment by moment react to data on housing, employment, earnings, Fed reports and such. This is what financial reporters do. There seems to always be a new horizon literally hour by hour.

We have trends in America in all sectors and quite obviously in entertainment. But nothing beats the pattern of quick trends than the reports coming from Wall Street.

After roughly one week of gloomy news interspersed with last week's "optimistic" data on employment, the finance articles today are reporting on, yes that right, renewed optimism. Monday, investors were slashing their virtual wrists as it were.

Futures are up and the level that they are up indicates that the market probably will begin with a sharper rise. The news that the Fed will not tamper with interest rates comes out later this afternoon, although sometimes they move the releases up accordingly. Add the rise in futures to the Fed news and then temper it with data on new housing and durable goods and who knows, but the likelihood of a rise in the DOW and S&P seems strong as opposed to weak.

Reuters: Stock futures rise ahead of data, Fed
At the end of its two-day meeting, the Fed is widely expected by economists to leave the benchmark federal funds rate at almost zero and soothe concerns it could hike rates as the economy shows signs of stabilizing.

S&P 500 futures rose 4.30 points...
Reuters: World stocks edge up ahead of Fed
"The Fed may adopt even stronger language to signal that it is likely to keep rates on hold in coming months, in order to combat rising market expectations of near-term tightening..."

"Long Tall Sally"

Gene Vincent - notice that Gene enters on crutches. That's because he had a severe permanent limp from a motorcycle accident. The pain in his leg was chronic and severe. But watch this group. They are doing stuff that we didn't see until years later. Now that is how to play on stage.

The road to punk goes through Gene Vincent.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nikkei Opens Higher On Wednesday

Energy shares AKA oil is helping the rise in the Nikkei on Wednesday morning.
Oil is once again at the center of the market's fate right now.

Reuters: Nikkei edges up, energy shares gain on oil rise

Moon Crash

The final few moments of video shot from Japan's Selene satellite before it crashes into the moon.

There's something about having crash debris on the moon that seems a little pesky...

TPMtv

Optimism Back To Crumbling Mode

It is being reported that the "optimism" cycle with investors has for the time being, run its course. Recall that just last week, we heard the opposite.

Be warned, financial articles seem to push this either or notion, clarity is important at the expense of exceptional detail.

The green shoots theory is being put to the test. Some investors are saying that the market levels are about right, and that now markets will react more in keeping with how the economy does or does not revive.

Right now nobody is saying there is anything remarkably good happening. Unemployment is increasing, everbody points this out, yet it is still not a leading indicator.

Reuters: Optimism stalls amid second thoughts on recovery
...investors are nervous again about financial markets...

"Markets have woken up to a world where a lot of the 'green shoots' arguments are starting to look very questionable..."

"I'd expect a 5 to 15 percent correction in stock prices and, candidly, I think 15 percent looks closer to the mark."

The Daily Show - Iran

CNN - Iran Coverage In Europe

Say Hi To The Spy Satellite

The National Applications program is allegedly being scrapped, if you can believe it.

That was or is a program begun during the Bush administration, of course who else right, to spy on us, the domestics.

Are you pleased knowing that your tax dollars are no longer being spent to spy on you, you ingrate.

Here's the extra stinker, Obama had included funding for the continuity of the program with the 2010 budget.

AP: DHS to kill domestic satellite spying

Reuters News Clips

The Market On Tuesday

Moody's says the USA is still triple A.

Surprising considering how deeply in debt the landscape is.

With Moody's rating continuity mixed with the fear that the recession is not lifting all that easily or soon enough, one might suspect that the day could be a flat one a best. Housing data for May is coming out and this could be the trigger that pushes the market one way or the other. Hopefully it does not dive like yesterday, and right now that does not seem to be the case at least at the open.

Reuters: Stock futures point up as Moody's says U.S. rating safe
Moody's said the United States' Aaa credit rating was safe...

The Federal Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on interest-rate policy...

...the National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales for May...

"Feber"

Familjen

The language is Swedish.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

Looking at the CNN World Markets big board, the Nikkei is down 204 points at 9:15am Tokyo time.

No surprise here as the Nikkei follows the severe losses on Wall Street today.

CNN: World Markets
Nikkei -204.12
9,622.15 6/23 9:15am

TPMtv

Oil Down, DOW Down

As oil goes so goes the market, or so it seems. Today was no exception to that implied rule.

The DOW ripped off 200 while the S&P dumped 28. The thing went south from the bell as futures were actually way down. No recovery occurred and the bottom seemed to keep dropping.

Based on the sketchy news available it would seem that there are three possibilities for the week.

The market holds and goes sideways once again - best scenario

The market sheds a bit more and then goes sideways once again - second best scenario

The market keeps diving because the bear market rally has run its course and the economic data that investors will be seeing this week does not support further elevation and suggests more devaluation. This scenario comes in two forms, light and heavy. - either way, can you spare a dime?

Reuters: Wall Street drops with energy companies, economic worries
...a sharp drop in oil prices prompted investors to sell some energy companies' shares, while a global forecast fueled worries about the sustainability of an economic recovery.

The Dalai Lama And The 17th Karmapa On Global Warming

A Buddhist Response To The Climate Emergency

The Dalai Lama

It is difficult to fully comprehend great environmental changes like global warming. We know that carbon dioxide levels are rising dangerously in the atmosphere leading to unprecedented increases in the average temperature of the planet. The Earth’s great stores of ice—the Arctic, the Antarctic, and the Tibetan plateau—have begun to melt. Devastating sea level rises and severe water shortages could result this century. Human activity everywhere is hastening to destroy key elements of the natural ecosystems all living beings depend on. These threatening developments are drastic and shocking. It is hard to imagine all this actually happening in our lifetime, and in the lives of our children. We must deal with the prospect of global suffering and environmental degradation unlike anything in human history.

Eminent scientists have said that global warming is as dangerous for our future as nuclear war. We have entered the uncharted territory of a global emergency, where “business as usual” cannot continue. We must take the initiative to repair and protect this world, ensuring a safe-climate future for all people and all species.



The 17th Karmapa
The principle of interdependence shows us that all life is connected, and that our individual actions have consequences in the larger world. This is the karmic relationship between cause and effect. It clearly applies also to global warming, which has been caused by humans extracting fossil fuel reserves laid down hundreds of millions of years ago and burning them to produce heat, mechanical, and electrical energy. By doing this we have released fossil
carbon gas into the atmosphere of our planet.

We humans have already done such immense damage to the environment that it is almost beyond our power to heal it. The challenge is far more complex and extensive than Buddhists can tackle alone. However, we can take a lead, and to do so we must educate and inform ourselves. This is the time when our pure aspirations and our bodhisattva activity must come together. This is the time to ensure a safe-climate future for our planet. This aspiration comes from my heart.

CNN - Neda

Rumsfeld In Time

Neocon Donald Rumsfeld is back with an article in Time.

For someone who is allegedly not bitter and allows criticism to fall away, you will read a heap of bitterness directed at the press among others.

Recall that a free press is one of the most hated objects of the neoconservative movement. Recall how in the run up to shock and awe how the media was controlled and manipulated all too willingly to ramp up the charge to war.

Now Rumsfeld is bitter about the media.

Is it worth reviewing the lengthy list of garbage this man wrought? It depends how public he becomes. This blog is ready and primed.

Time: Donald Rumsfeld in Repose
"You could bash him all you want and he'll bounce back right away. It rolls off him."

"I have a friend who is totally convinced that Don was the scapegoat and that he must be bitter towards the president...You don't understand Don. He's never going to say anything critical about the president of the United States.'"

"Change is hard" has remained a frequent refrain of his.

"They don't say Condi lied."

The Market On Monday

We have been warned by the conservative side of the economic spectrum that we were in a bear market rally the past few months. Its impossible to say if the winds are shifting again. The tone for this morning is caution. Reuters is using a new term, "economic malaise." Malaise is "a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify." This is not encouraging.

Investors will be reviewing all types of economic data this week with a big deal Federal Reserve meeting coming up and corporate second quarter reports coming in early.
With the second quarter ending June 30, investors may see some pre-announcements from companies that could provide a better picture of how the corporate reporting period will look. Outlooks for the third quarter also will be crucial. source
Reuters: Stock futures point to lower open on economic malaise
...the World Bank said Monday that prospects for the global economy remain "unusually uncertain"...

After a sharp three-month rally, indexes eased last week as traders increasingly questioned if stocks are due for a correction.

"The Air That I Breathe"

The Hollies

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Monday

Heavy Metal In Baghdad



From February 2, 2009 in the NY Times: One Band Moves Its Metal Out of Iraq
And on Sunday night, two days after the last of the band’s four members was resettled in the United States, they enjoyed what any metal fan would have to call heaven: bearhugs and “Wow, dude” heart-to-hearts backstage with Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark. It probably wasn’t necessary for James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, to surprise them after the show by handing over one of his guitars, a black ESP, and signing it “Welcome to America”; their minds were already blown.

“They were very fortunate to make it through the system,” Bob Carey, the vice president for resettlement and migration policy at the International Rescue Committee, said of the band. “Some of that is due to perseverance, some of it is advocacy and some of it is luck.”

Acrassicauda’s primary advocate has been Vice, the Brooklyn-based magazine and media company that made “Heavy Metal in Baghdad.” Vice is better known for wisecracking pop-culture commentary than humanitarian aid, but it has been working tirelessly on the band’s behalf for a year and a half.

Vice tried to help resettle the members to Canada and Germany, and kept them afloat with cash — as much as $40,000 paid from Vice’s own coffers, sponsors and donations collected online, according to Suroosh Alvi, a founder of the company and one of the directors of the film.

"Det Snurrar I Min Skalle"

Familjen

This is a repost of this tune for Father's Day.

Flu In England

The flu really and truly has not gone away by any means.

Health managers there are talking half the population will get it.

The Independent: Swine flu 'could infect up to half the population' (in England)
Primary care trusts are now being briefed to expect that the pandemic could affect as much as 40 per cent of the workforce before the end of the year, with many worried that there could be a surge of cases in the autumn, according to health industry sources.

Another Fathers Day Idea


The English get it.

The article is from The UK's Independent, that would be one of the major papers in England.

Would we ever see this in the Washington Post? Would we even want to see it in the Washington Post...

The Ten Best Sex Toys
Add a few strokes of colour to your love life with some organic, edible body paint. Available in 12 different colours and flavours, ranging from brown chocolate to a less conventional lime green ? there's one to for every taste. Get creative painting on your partner, then lick it off.

Happy Fathers Day

I hope all dads out there got the card, the call, the hug, the present, or something else important.

If you didn't, its because you might have a son ;-) Hey, you're a guy, you just don't remember these things.

Stupid Videos - How To Eat Dry Ice

**** four stars - Sande

2012

Nothing like an end of the world film to help with the Summer. The film seems to have the right amount of explosions that fast moving vehicles can stay one micro step ahead of. Everybody knows you can outwit an explosion with decent reflexes and a plane. Plus there's always so much time to think about what you are going to do in the instant of a cataclysmic eruption.

Just the other day I swerved and missed a pothole, nothing to it.

I wish the director had sent out an internet request for objects, buildings, or areas that ordinary people would like to see getting destroyed. Not that I wish anyone or anyplace any real harm.

Welcome to Summer by the way.

Chaos

We have witnessed various stages in the Iranian election, from protests, to larger protests, to appeals for stopping the protests, to limited violence, to harsher accusations, to more state violence - shock - and suppression, to hardened factions in intense emotional opposition willing to die. This pattern seems all to familiar.

It would seem that the momentum created during this past week will carry on into the future for a period.

I would suspect that the center of power in Iran, Khomeini, will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future regardless of how this is appeased.

With the mention that they will be recounting 10% of the ballots comes an extremely limited compromise. This is probably unacceptable news for the Muoussavi side. 10% will not change the outcome at all.

CNN: Rift grows among Iranian leaders
One graphic video that captured the death of a young woman became the iconic symbol of a brutal day. But like most of the information coming out of Tehran, it is impossible to verify her name -- Neda -- or the circumstances of her apparent death.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government said Saturday it is ready to recount up to 10 percent of "ballot boxes."

CNN - Toothpick City

Organic Milk Produced In Ghent NY

Reuters has done an excellent story on an organic milk producer from Ghent NY.

Milk Thistle Farm

Organic is the way to go. Why drink anything else when we are more aware of the list of additives and genetically modified parts as well in non organic milk. The extra cost is worth it 100%.

The farmer is expanding his business by seeking out customers to invest in $1,000 increments. The idea is to expand the operation into more organic dairy products.

I think its fantastic that a start up, start from scratch business of this type can potentially flourish.

Reuters: Organic dairy farmer bets on customer investment
...sales of organic milk in 2007 totaled more than $1.3 billion in the United States. While organic accounts for just 3 percent of the U.S.'s total milk sales, it has been growing at an annual average rate of more than 20 percent over the past decade (last year it dipped to 10 percent).

"So What"

Miles

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Happened To The Flu

Even though its not in the news as much, the flu is still with us.

The colder temperatures in the Northeast are thought to be the virus' preferred climate.

Cooler it is indeed. Its the first day of summer and no one even noticed here in upstate NY. Many were out today with jackets on.

Reuters: CDC sees "something different" with new flu
So far the virus is causing mild to moderate disease, but it has killed at least 167 people and been confirmed in nearly 40,000 globally.

"The areas of the country that are most affected, some of them have very high population densities, like Boston and New York. So that may be a contributor as well. Plus the temperature in that part of the country is cooler, and we know that influenza appears to like the cooler times of the year for making transmission for effective."

Iraq Violence 6-20-09

The misery just won't cease.

McClatchy: Suicide bomb in Kirkuk kills 67 and sows mistrust
...and injured more than 200 in a blast near a mosque that also leveled about 30 houses.

Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd himself, deplored the attack and offered compensation to affected families of $1,000 for every person killed and $300 for every person injured.

The government of neighboring Turkey said it would send an aircraft to Kirkuk on Sunday to transport those too seriously wounded to be treated locally.

Stupid Videos

Violence In The Streets

Looks like the decision to clamp it all down has come through and the confrontation has gotten ratcheted up several notches.

CNN: Iran security forces use tear gas, clubs on protesters, witnesses say
Security forces made "a very large show of force" in midtown and southeastern Tehran, using tear gas and clubs to beat back protesters as clashes erupted during the unrest.

Obama's Weekly Address

Heaven Or Hell

Three major pieces of data will come down the pike next week. For the foreseeable future, this date will affect the market's ability to rally or fold.

We are back to square one as it were, with Wall Street now needing to see more signs that the recession is continuing to recede. Therefor the data has to look not necessarily great, but just a little bit better.

The data will include information on new and existing home sales, the summation from a Fed meeting on rates and how rates will or will not change over the next year, and eventually second quarter results from all concerns.

So far, the course has been bumpy but most data has been showing slight improvement. Several of the financial articles from the past week have been uncharacteristically positive. We've been seeing the "return of optimism" versus "concerns about the economic climate."

The script is probably already known by some, the data is already pretty much etched in stone, so sit back and enjoy the show. All we can do is follow along and decide how we want to react to the news. We have become pros at getting through this recession

Reuters: Rally's fate hinges on Fed, home sales
Investors will assess data on new and existing home sales...

"They will probably have to send a clear, credible signal that rates are not going to be raised in 2009 or even in the first half of 2010..."

"What's going to drive the market is the third-quarter outlook when companies report second-quarter earnings..."

Other economic data next week includes a report on durable goods orders for May...

"In The Name Of Love"

U2 in 1984

Friday, June 19, 2009

Obama Roasts Television And Radio Correspondents

Part 1



Part 2

"Basic Instinct"

Paul Verhoeven's films include 'RoboCop', 'Total Recall', 'Basic Instinct', and 'Starship Troopers.'

Obama Morphs Into Bush

Distressing article from McClatchy and coming out at a distressing time. Its Friday, the usual time for the nasty news dump, when less are paying attention. Not that all that many are paying any attention anyhow.

The article gets into the ways that Obama is starting to follow the legal rules of Bush and one of the uglier aspects is secrecy along with fear inducing warnings.

McClatchy: In stark legal turnaround, Obama now resembles Bush
In courtroom battles and freedom-of-information fights from Washington, D.C., to California, Obama's legal arguments repeatedly mirror Bush's: White House turf is to be protected, secrets must be retained and dire warnings are wielded as weapons.

The Bush White House sought to keep e-mails secret. The Obama White House has followed suit. The Bush White House sought to keep visitor logs secret. The Obama White House, so far, takes the same view.

More Iranian Protest Footage - Shooting To Kill

Horrible, horrible, horrible

Scott Ritter On The Iranian Election

From a deep operative -

Scott Ritter has written an excellent article on the Iranian election. Follow the link posted below to the Truthdig article. I would say its a must read.

Ritter is saying that all the pre-election polling showed that Ahmadinejad really held a 2 to 1 advantage over Mousavi. So, Ritter is saying that Ahmadinejad is the democratically elected leader of Iran.

He goes on to criticize American journalists for faulty reporting on the election, and he also gets into the economic policies that are strong currents behind present day Iran.

Truthdig: Learning to Live With the Devil We Know
The undisputable fact remains that in the lead-up to Friday’s controversial presidential elections, scientific polling conducted by Western organizations such as the New America Foundation showed Ahmadinejad with a comfortable lead over Mousavi in all 30 of Iran’s provinces. Mousavi appeared to have captured the imagination of the Western press and punditry. But it is increasingly clear that, unless findings to the contrary are brought forward, he did not capture the votes of the majority of the Iranian people. The presence of tens of thousands of Mousavi supporters in the streets of Tehran does nothing to change this reality. The Western media’s repeated citation of unnamed sources claiming a Mousavi victory represents shoddy journalism and wishful thinking, nothing more.

...President Ahmadinejad will be the “democratically elected” face of Iran for the next four years.

...there are two other individuals in Iran who hold real power...speaker of the Iranian Majlis, Ali Larijani, and the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Fist Comes Down

Let's hope that skull cracking and mass deaths at that hands of military gunfire do not become the next step in Iran.

The supreme leader has determined that the Iranian vote was just fine.

So much for what amounts to be a theocratic dictatorship.

CNN: Iran's supreme leader rejects vote fraud claims
In his first speech since the June 12 election outcome sparked the country's worst unrest in 30 years, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the vote accurately reflected the will of the people and accused "enemies of Islam" of stoking anger.

"There is a difference of 11 million votes. How can vote-rigging happen?" he added.

The Market On Friday

Futures are up this morning. Optimism is a key word in today's financial articles. Investors are pleased with Thursday's data on US employment figures and factory activity. This news has extended worldwide as the European markets are at present seeing increases.

Several key market elements are in play with the dollar slightly dropping in world currency contextual value and the price of oil again slightly rising.

Hooray its Friday!

Reuters: U.S. stock futures signal gains; eyes on RIM
The International Monetary Fund is likely to revise its 2010 growth forecast for the world economy up with signs the rate of decline in global output has moderated...

...too early to declare victory, with financial conditions far from normal and the world economy still in recession.

"Don't You Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down"

Eric Bibb and Brian Kramer

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

The Senate passed the bill today, with four Republicans joining Democrats to get a 60 to 39 vote.

So, consider getting rid of the clunker.

Yahoo: Senate Passes "Cash for Clunkers" Program
...was expected to be implemented by early August.

Under the proposal, car owners could get a voucher worth $3,500 if they traded in a vehicle getting 18 miles per gallon or less for one getting at least 22 mpg. The value of the voucher would grow to $4,500 if the mileage of the new car was 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle. The miles per gallon figures are listed on the car window's sticker.

Nikkei Opens Higher On Friday

After a few days of downward drifting, the stock market leveled off today with a more sideways closing.

The news today would make one think that the recession is easing. So while we experience many days with a headline like "the market sank on economic concerns", today we got "the market rose on economic hopes."

Reuters: Oil rises on economic hopes, Nigeria disruptions
The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week, but the number of people staying on the benefits rolls fell for the first time since January, data showed on Thursday.
Okay, this might be completely off base but did those people leave the benefits rolls, AKA unemployment insurance, because their benefits ran out? If yes, then sorry, no gains. If no, then are these people going back to work?

Concerns and hopes, concerns and hopes, its like a battle of the bands.

The Nikkei opened higher following the leader.

Reuters: Nikkei rises 0.5 pct after Dow, S&P edge higher

TPMtv

How About That

Green Shoots

Reuters is reporting that the data on employment , manufacturing, and orders is improving and is being regarded as a sign that the recession is easing.

I must say, give the article a read for yourself, but it is about the most optimistic article I've seen on Reuters in a while. We do keep in mind the fact that the barometer has been all over the chart the last week, with tragic news coming from the IMF and such.

So who do we believe? Well, a lot of this is about numbers and today's numbers look promising. Other than that, what can we say.

I want to make a comment on remarks that ex-president Bush made last night. Bush characteristically abandoned his promise to lay off Obama. Consequently, lets not lay off Bush. Recall that in the simplest of terms, bottom line as it were, Bush was the worst president of our generation in all respects. His remarks are as meaningless, harmful, and unproductive as was his presidency.

Reuters: Green shoots in U.S. jobs, factories and indicators
...the reading on the Philadelphia Federal Reserve business activity index was the highest since September 2008, while further evidence that the recession is fading came from the Conference Board's forward-looking measure of the U.S. economy, which posted its biggest increase in five years in May.

New orders, a measure of future business, also hit their highest since September and the employment gauge hit its highest since November.

Iranian Voter Fraud

Nice article from McClatchy on the Iranian-vote-gate.

They say it would be as if Bush beat Kerry in 2004 by taking New York City and Massachusetts,

Fat chance, even Bush might know better.

McClatchy: Why the official Iranian election results are suspect
...unexplained police movements on the evening of the election, the exceptionally fast counting of handwritten ballots and some inexplicable election returns are among the reasons that opposition candidates and analysts cite when they say they suspect the vote was rigged.

There were no international observers. None of the ballots has been seen publicly; they're under guard at the Interior Ministry in downtown Tehran, which is under Ahmadinejad's control.

Opposition Rally Tehran June 17 2009

The Market On Thursday

The week is flying by, its already Thursday and it seems like it could be Monday. Sometimes the week flies by so fast its like trying to jump onto a moving train. Maybe I need shoes with more traction.

Wall Street investors will be parsing weekly data on layoffs along with carefully listening to Geithner tell a Congressional panel what Obama has in mind for finance regulation.

If they like what they hear, or if they can stomach it enough, then they will vote on the measures. The vote in this case, is how well your portfolio will perform for today.

Now that's democracy.

Reuters: Stock futures flat before data, Geithner testimony
...testimony of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before two Congressional panels on the Obama administration's proposed financial regulatory reform.

Geithner's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee is due to start at 9:30 a.m.

"Watching The Wheels"

John Lennon

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CNN - World Toe Wrestling Championship

Oiled Up

There are a few essentials that a completely relevant in this recession. Employment is from my point of view, the number one essential.

High up on the list is the price of oil. The price per barrel dipped on Monday and Tuesday, but today it rose a bit.

Its simple, higher oil prices equals more inflation. At this point its not a huge deal but start seeing gas at $4 per gallon along with a 10% unemployment rate, and then we have a recession along with inflation. It doesn't get much worse than that. That would be the worst recession in our lifetime coupled with the worst inflation.

Reuters: Oil rises on stock market, U.S. inventory data
U.S. crude settled 56 cents higher at $71.03 a barrel, having earlier traded down to $69.00.

Frog Meets Christmas

TPMtv

Larry David On Conan

Yes, I am a big fan of Larry David. Really, Okay...., Okay...

CNN - Iran From Afar

And now, Iran is suppressing Facebook and Twitter.