Monday, November 30, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

The market moved slightly better than sideways today. The dollar is down and oil is up. Dubai insolvency is already out of mind. One might suspect that we are in a level period, for the time being.

Reuters: Nikkei slips as rally runs out of steam; banks down
"The worry and negative sentiment over Dubai that really hit the markets last week has largely disappeared, especially as it seems that even if the debt is postponed, the impact will not be that large..."
Reuters: Oil rises on weak dollar, eyes on Dubai
Signs of a sluggish recovery in oil demand and high fuel stockpiles in the United States have kept a lid on crude prices, which are set for a fall of around 0.5 percent this month, their first decline since July.

'Off Season'

Alfred Hitchcock Hour

Bok Choy


All these years and I never bought and cooked bok choy.

So on Sunday I bought some organic bok choy on a whim. It looked very crisp and fresh.

Today I chopped up a few pieces, sauteed them lightly, then added in some leftover whole wheat penne and white beans, a pinch of Kosher salt, and a splash of hot sesame seed oil.

It was very good.

Mom would have liked it if she could have gotten passed the name, Italian lady that she was.
Another reason that bok choy is becoming popular to use, besides its similarity to cabbage, is because of its nutritional value. One half cup of raw bok choy, which is approximately 56 grams, contains only 10 calories. Additionally, bok choy contains no fat or cholesterol and is a good source of calcium. It is also low in sodium and high in vitamins C and A. Because both bok choy's stalks and leaves can be used in salads, it also provides a delicious and healthy meal for those who are on a diet. Bok choy is also easy to prepare. You need only wash the bok choy, chop it, then use it as you desire; for example, you can microwave or steam it for a simple and quick side dish or main meal.

TPMtv - CPR

Conservatives for Patients' Rights has a new ad out which, how can we put it mildly, lies its ass off.

I'm not sure what they are complaining about, health insurance companies will run the program. I don't get it.

Wrestle Willow Mania III



We spent the afternoon working on removing more of the downed willow limb.

Neighbor Ray, avatar dachshund Mitchel, and yours truly attacked the limb with chain saw and two wheelbarrows.

A few pieces are lining the new deer trail, a few will get burned in the fireplace, and a few extremely large sections are staying right where they are till next spring.

I am exhausted and so is Mitchel. At 15.5 y.o., he is suffering from some doggy dementia but the fresh air suited him. He is presently at peace and snoring away as I type.

The town will send out the chipper truck and take the pile by the road away. God, I love this place. Consider moving here.

Casino Capitalism

Maria Cantwell the junior Democratic senator from Washington, is calling for gambling laws to be applied to aspects of financial markets. In particular she is honing in on hedge funds.

McClatchy: Wall Street's a casino, so maybe state gambling laws apply
...someone needs to police financial markets where "casino capitalism" involving highly speculative trades she likens to sophisticated betting continue unabated and threaten to create yet another financial crisis.

...help rein in the nearly $600 trillion derivatives market.

Over the years, however, derivatives became more exotic, allowing investors to place what were essentially side bets on such things as whether people would default on their mortgages or whether the price of oil or natural gas would go up or down.

The Market On Monday

At 7:39 a.m. futures are slightly down. At this point the market seems poised to move sideways, but you never know.

Dubai insolvency and its weight on market activity has been lessened as the U.A.E. is saying it will back the affected institutions.

Black Friday sales were slightly up and investors like seeing that.

Allow me to point out the obvious. The notion is firmly in place that consumerism, retail sales, and energy usage in theory must continue to increase all the time. This is what the markets want to see. How can that possibly continue. Its not a sustainable theory.

CNN: Stocks ready for post-holiday drop
...the average shopper spent $343.31 over the holiday weekend, down from $372.57 last year. Overall sales rose to $41.2 billion from $41 billion, with the number of shoppers climbing to 195 million from 172 million over the four-day span.

"Right now, things are looking much better on a year-over-year basis."
Reuters: Oil ticks up above $76, eyes on Dubai
But confirmation from Abu Dhabi that it would extend some help to Dubai, as well as moves by the United Arab Emirates to offer emergency assistance to banks in Dubai, helped calm some market concerns.

'Giant Steps'

Andy Quin plays John Coltrane's salient work.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2010 And Stressed


That is the 2010 Camaro from GM and it is in my opinion very unappealing.

We tend to ascribe personality to a car, especially the front grill and headlights. They remind us of a face, this is the "face" of the car.

Look at the face. Its a face in a state of constant road rage.

I mean GM only has itself to blame for its complete and utter misreading of the car market. It strikes me as unbelievable that they come out with another muscle car with brute design written all over it.

Are they projecting the companies own internal turmoil onto their car designs?

'Beatles 3000'

Nikkei Opens Higher On Monday

Dubai insolvency has not affected the Nikkei on Monday.

Reuters: Nikkei climbs nearly 1 pct, exporters gain

Ukranian Folk Dance Redaction

The Ukraine
The country is rich in natural resources, such as iron ore, coal, color metal, oil, gas, mineral salts, clay and potential water power. It has developed a varied industry, concentrated mostly in and around big cities, such as Kiev, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Dnyeprodzerzhinsk, Odessa, Kharkov, Lviv, Nickolayev and other. It produces planes and ships, lorries and buses, motorcars and locomotives, computer and electronic equipment, precision instruments and agricultural machines, TV and radioset, chemicals and textiles and various consumer goods. Odessa, Sebastopol, Nickolayev, Kherson and Kerch are main Ukrainian ports.
I like the black bars. They're like empty voids blotting out the blot worthy (worthies?), its a sexual redaction.

I wonder why most of the action takes place in a Supermarket. Golly, stay away from the frozen food section, would ya...

Techno Gangs

I remember Lyndon Johnson going on TV in the mid 60s and telling people that the KKK was finished. He said if you are in it, get out. Its a very vivid memory. I remember thinking that this was a good move.

I think someone of similar prominence needs to come on TV and start clamping down on the gangs. If you are in it, get out.

Gangs around here use myspace, and I can't help but wonder why people with an ability to navigate this technology would use that modicum of intelligence to deliberately cause violence. Big socio-cultural issue here and in case you're not following, its not improving.

The Daily News: Gangs in New York talk Twitter: Use tweets to trash-talk rivals, plan fights
A boy shot in the leg weeks earlier on Lenox Ave. may have been targeted because of a battle the Original Young Gangsters crew started on Twitter.

"I knoe bitches from oyg that would dead mob yah s--t in harlem," one girl wrote in a series of tweets aimed at drawing out a rival for a fight.

Investigators are monitoring the traffic in hopes of sweeping up gangbangers before the bloodshed - and searching Twitter after attacks for clues.

"It is another tool ... just like old phone records," a police source said. "We can go through them [messages] to track these guys."

Willow Tree Chainsaw Massacre

We just completed round two with our massive willow tree limbs that came down early Saturday morning.

Yesterday we started removing the smaller pieces. Today it was all about the base of the limb. All I have to say is the 16" gas powered Husqvarna chain saw is a great tool.

The thing cut right through the larger pieces like a hot knife through butter.

We still have more removal to do but we are definitely over the hump. That part of the yard is starting to look more organized.

Swiss Minaret Ban


The Swiss have made it official, no new minarets in our country thank you very much.

To the Swiss, the minaret is a symbol of Muslim based terrorism, essentially.

Now we could go on and on about the church spire or even the corporate skyscraper as symbols of this and that tyranny, but we won't.

But I will comment that this particular decision seems to reek of fear along with a healthy dose of completely absent self reflective awareness, AKA ignorance.

Yahoo: Projection: Swiss vote to ban new minarets

New Anti-Abortion Tactic In Alaska

Alaskans are attempting to get a new anti-abortion initiative on the ballot.

The sense is that the initiative may not succeed.

The idea is to declare the fetus - "a legal person" or to recognize the fetus as an actual person. In this way, abortion would literally and legally be murder.

This particular angle is old from the point of view of ideology, but it is new in the sense of making it law.

This initiative is moving forward in other states as well.

Anchorage Daily News: New fight develops over rights of fetuses
...outlaw abortion in Alaska by declaring fetuses to be "legal persons" appears headed for a court fight.

Kurka's effort is part of a nationwide push to put "personhood" initiatives on state ballots.

"So, basically, what we're doing here is if we say that we recognize the unborn as persons, then a woman's right to choose or a right to privacy doesn't matter (just like) she doesn't have a right to kill her child after it's born..."

'Little Red Rooster'

Stones

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chilcot Inquiry Update

Like many government created inquiries, the Chilcot hearings has its critics and it has its shortfalls.

In an age when transparency is a whimsical notion, Chilcot is being pressed to become more transparent.

I find the detail excerpted below to be very interesting. It tells how military contracts were not completed in time and so British soldiers were sent off to Iraq without the necessary equipment. Didn't Rumsfeld say you go to war with the army you have not the army you want?

The rush to war was so accelerated that some British military personnel were inadequately supplied.

The next question in my mind would be, did this also happen in the USA? Did the inexplicable rush to war cost more lives?

Guardian UK: Gordon Brown urged to lift Iraq inquiry secrecy - Fears most explosive documents related to beginning of war will not be aired at Chilcot hearing
...might make it possible for Mr Brown to stopblock the release of papers relating to the procurement of equipment for the armed forces before the war.

That process is widely believed to have cost the lives of British troops who were left without vital kit such as body armour, because the contracts were concluded too late.

Another Real Estate Recession Casualty

Yahoo: Hotel owners, like home owners, behind on payments

Jeff Cohen On Obama's GOP Alliance Over Afghanistan

As we know the public is presented with one strain of justification for policy while the more relevant and "truthful" policy ingredients remain in the background.

Obama seems bent on escalating the war in Afghanistan. How exactly are hundreds of years of cultural flavoring going to be changed with guns, bombs, and money.

The people that make policy decisions are very intelligent people. They have access to superior information of all types.

I still maintain that this escalation is designed by energy and raw materials corporations in order to develop Afghanistan as a route into asset rich Central Asia.

I also maintain that it is essentially profit that is at the center of all modern transactions and especially wars.

ZNET: Get Ready for the Obama/GOP Alliance
For those who elected Obama, it's important to remember the downward spiral that was accelerated by Clinton's GOP alliance to pass NAFTA.

Today, it's crucial to ask where Obama is heading. From the stimulus to healthcare, he's shown a Clinton-like willingness to roll over progressives in Congress on his way to corrupt legislation and frantic efforts to compromise for the votes of corporate Democrats or "moderate" Republicans.

If Obama stands tough on more troops to Afghanistan (as Clinton fought ferociously for NAFTA), only an unprecedented mobilization of progressives - including many who worked tirelessly to elect Obama - will be able to stop him.

'The Future Of Food'

Take a deep breath and watch.

Resettle 101


I was recently thinking about where I would go when a Palin presidency or some similar quality individual picks up where Bush left off. The Bush years were vicious, can anybody stomach any more of it in the future. I suspect that sentiment is alive and well.

I know of a couple who recently went off to New Zealand. I know a few others who live there as well.

I need a safe and culturally vibrant city.

Reuters: Canada, Australia ranked best places for expats
...expats in Canada have the best quality of life and found it among the easiest places in the world to integrate with the local population.

Australia and Thailand also came in the top three...

Re-Dubai


The Dubai insolvency problem may have some legs, it depends on how invested American banks are in the boom town gone bust. Its hardly like Detroit though, it will come back maybe with more modest architectural designs. They like to stretch the envelope over there.

Let's face it though, if people were out in droves and bought holiday presents at a rate that surpasses last year's Black Friday then December will continue with the bull run. Its still about how Americans spend their money. I was in Lowes today and the place was hopping.

Reuters: Jobs data eyed, but Dubai is the wild card
...Friday's employment report for November will be the main event with job losses expected to decrease from October. Investors will also get an early view of how retailers fared during Black Friday...

It was uncertain how much exposure U.S. banks have in Dubai...

December, traditionally one of the best months for stocks, has been good for an average gain of 1.7 percent in the S&P 500 since 1950...

"If we're higher next week, it's very bullish for the remainder of the year..

Mission Half Accomplished



The downed willow limbs are half way sawed up and stacked for the town to remove on Tuesday.

We ended up buying the gas powered 16" chain saw because the tree is too far away from the house for the electric. I love the saw, it made quick work of the willow which is a soft light wood. Several pieces were buried real deep into the ground. I estimate they fell 6o feet or so. We had to sledge hammer them and pull with two of us to get them out.

The 16" chain saw is supposed to be able to cut up to 32" diameter wood, one slice through on each side. We'll tackle the heavy parts tomorrow. But right now I'm happy because this looks like a $1,000 job and we definitely paid for the saw today alone.

Some say you can burn willow in the fireplace, the problem is that you have to keep it very dry. I may keep a few pieces for burning, use them as kindling.

Limb Down


It is super windy around here.

Its house shaking windy.

We got up this morning only to see a huge limb down in the back yard area. The new house has a little more property than the city house and that includes a couple of trees. The limb completely crushed a metal bench and took out our compost box.

We decided we're going to buy a chain saw and yours truly will pretend he's a tree person. I got my day's work cut out for me.

I think its a willow - have to find out if we can burn it in the fireplace.

Your Weekly Address

'Etudes 9 And 12'

Major talent Tatiana Kolesova plays Chopin. Etude #12 will ring a bell.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Declining Empires

Visualizing empires decline from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

'Men Who Stare At Goats'

We saw this movie tonight. Its entertaining at a slow pace, but wait till it comes out on DVD or Netflix. Its a solid 2.5 star movie.

Jeff Bridges will never ever ever surpass his role as the Dude in 'The Big Lebowski.' So don't get any ideas.

Cruel

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and now Sudan have been in the news lately. All three countries have demonstrated their interest in showing the world how cruel and ghastly their fundamentalist regimes are.

Reuters: Sudan teen lashed for "indecent" skirt: lawyer
A 16-year-old south Sudanese girl was lashed 50 times after a judge ruled her knee-length skirt was indecent...

Recruiting Arab-Americans For The CIA


What can we say. The "War on Terror" is a fight against the radical end of the Muslim world.

The CIA wants a way into that world.

So, the CIA is recruiting in Dearborn. Recall that after 9-11 tremendous pressure was brought to bear on Arab Americans especially those living in Michigan.

Reuters: CIA goes hiring in heart of Arab America
In dire need of agents fluent in Arabic, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has made an unusual public show of its recruiting effort in Dearborn (Michigan) -- a city of 100,000 with the densest Arab population in the United States.

"If anyone goes, they would be just going for the money, not following the heart..."
Let's compare the sentiment from the Reuters article above with the MSN article below from Oct. 20, 2001.

MSN: Is Michigan a Terror Stronghold?
Almost every major terrorist organization has operatives in Michigan, according to the report. Citing information received from the Detroit office of the FBI, the report says “most of the 28 international terrorist groups recently identified by the State Department… are represented in Michigan. Examples include such well-known terrorist organizations as Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Egyptian Brotherhood, Al-Gama’at, Al-Islamiyya, and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization—Al Qaeda.” The Detroit office of the FBI declines to comment on the report, which it has not yet reviewed, says a spokeswoman.

Thanksgiving - William S. Burroughs

Momentum To War

England's Chilcot inquiry continues to investigate the lead up to the Iraq war.

Is the American media even aware that this inquiry is occurring?

Superficially checking Google, the Times-online made a reference.

One might suspect that the recession and the employment devastation has obliterated the concern and memory of this beyond tragic war.

One calamity following another is the American way to cover the tracks.

Guardian UK: Iraq invasion of questionable legitimacy, says British diplomat
...the US and UK had failed to persuade other countries of the need for war...

"...the United States was not proactively supportive of the UK's efforts and seemed to be preparing for conflict whatever the UK decided to do..."

The Market On Black Friday

Today is shaping up to be a day of reckoning. Futures are not just down, they have broken through to the middle earth.

The keyword is Dubai and its going to be in the air and airwaves all day.

I guess its place your bets. Will the market tumble 200, 300, 500 points, or will cooler heads prevail. Unless some intervention occurs before 9 a.m., the market will open with a sharp drop.

CNN: Wall Street set to open lower
The problems stem from Dubai World, the finance arm of Dubai, which is considering a postponement of payments on nearly $60 billion in debt. The debt was used to fuel a construction boom over the last few years, including its palm-tree shaped island projects, but the Middle East nation was hit hard by a real estate crunch.
Reuters: Gold tumbles as Dubai triggers stampede to dollars
"It's mainly driven by this news out of Dubai (which) has had a large impact on risk appetite and resulted in a sharply stronger dollar..."

'Many Rivers to Cross'

Elvis Costello

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Faces Of Meth

We are watching the TV series 'Breaking Bad.'

Looking around the web to learn about crystal meth, the drug which is central to the series' development, we found this clip.

Its not pretty.

Invading Iraq

The Chilcot inquiry, Britain's investigation of their country's lead up to the Iraq war, continues.

We can say this central point over and over till we are blue in the face - the neocons wanted to invade Iraq well before Bush took office on January 2001.

Guardian UK: Chilcot inquiry: Tony Blair decided on Iraq war a year before invasion - envoy
Tony Blair's government decided up to a year before the Iraq invasion that it was "a complete waste of time" to resist the US drive to oust Saddam Hussein, opting instead to offer advice on how it should be done, the former British ambassador to Washington said today.

He said that the timing of the invasion was dictated by the "unforgiving nature" of the military build-up rather than the outcome of diplomacy or UN weapons inspections, which had not been given sufficient time. British officials were left "scrabbling for the smoking gun" – evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction – as preparations continued.

The message from Downing Street was that the 11 September attacks and the subsequent US determination to oust Saddam were established facts, "and it was a complete waste of time … if we were going to work with the Americans, to come to them and bang away about regime change and say: 'We can't support it'."

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

Reuters: Nikkei hits 4-month low on yen, Dubai debt worries

'Iceland'

Three Sheets

Happy Thanksgiving


Have an excellent holiday and try not to eat too much and yes there is much to be thankful for.

We are having salmon, this has become our tradition.

Its surprisingly warm here, although it is overcast, damp, and gray. November is a gray month in upstate NY.

Its a peaceful day, that's the best thing. Scrabble awaits.

Football is not my cup of tea. They say its a sport, but it seems like lightly controlled violence to me. The cheap fouls smack of jacked up young men with too much hormone and not nearly enough intelligence, but to each their own.

I started out the day with my daily constitutional walk. I took the 40 minute route. When I got home I realized I dropped a glove somewhere along the way. So I jumped in the car, retraced my steps, and found the glove laying on the road not too far away either.

Success...

How could I forget. Its also the official beginning to the holiday season - so Happy Holidays.

Parasites

This is a must read article that gets into how Goldman sold housing securities at the end of the housing bubble knowing full well that the products would soon be worthless. They sold these things to pension funds, labor unions, and foreign investors.

Ruthlessness has many faces.

McClatchy: How Goldman secretly bet on the U.S. housing crash
"The Securities and Exchange Commission should be very interested in any financial company that secretly decides a financial product is a loser and then goes out and actively markets that product or very similar products to unsuspecting customers without disclosing its true opinion," said Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economics professor who's proposed a massive overhaul of the nation's banks. "This is fraud and should be prosecuted."

'All The Young Dudes'

Mott The Hoople

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Debt

Debt is the new wealth...

Yahoo: World debt to soar 45 percent: Moody's
Moody's estimated in a report that the total global debt in 2010 would reach more than 49 trillion dollars.

'It's Only The Beginning'

V - Episode 4

Robin Williams Takes On Palin

Thanksgiving Bump

At noon the Dow is up 37 points.

Investors are pleased with today's economic data announcements.

First time weekly unemployment claims fell to a paltry 466,000. That number would roughly be the population of the entire city of Sacremento, or Cleveland, or if you prefer Kansas City.

Hey at least its not getting worse...

Reuters: Stocks rise after improved jobs, housing data
Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes rose to their highest level in a year in October. Also, consumer spending increased more than expected, while new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply, suggesting the recovery was gaining traction.
CNN: Jobless claims plummet to 14-month low
The number of first-time filers for unemployment insurance fell to 466,000, the lowest level in 14 months, according to a government report released Wednesday.

CNN - Orangutans

The Market On Wednesday

At 8:25 a.m. futures are modestly up. That could change real fast if data on weekly initial jobless claims exceeds last week's mark of 505,000.

Man that's a lot of lost jobs, this is just getting ridiculous.

Here's my take on today. Most investors are already sipping cocktails in the Caribbean. So one might suspect that trading volume will be down. The problem with low trading volume is that there's more pricing volatility, higher ups and lower downs.

So, my great wish for America for today is that the market at least goes sideways so Thanksgiving can occur with minimum angst.

CNN: Stocks poised to rise
Readings on personal income and spending, jobless claims, consumer sentiment and new home sales are all due out Wednesday.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Nov. 21 are expected to be 500,000, according to a consensus of economist forecasts compiled by Briefing.com. That would be down slightly from 505,000 the prior week.
Reuters: Futures up ahead of data
According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, demand for U.S. home loans slipped last week even as mortgage rates hovered near record lows.

'Schubert/Liszt Transcription'

Pianist Tatiana Kolesova

Perfection...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Youth And Innovation

From the Institute For The Future

Nikkei Opens Lower On Wednesday

Today the market started to tumble after the revised GDP numbers for the third quarter came out, 2.8% growth in the third quarter. The stimulus money couldn't break 3.

Then the Fed came out with a statement that they are bullish on the economy. Consequently the market went sideways though slightly tilted downward, with the DOW closed down 17 points.

Translation: Let's let people enjoy Thanksgiving without a whole lot of worry about the market.

Reuters: Nikkei edges down in choppy trade, JAL higher
"Basically we're seeing short-covering after a number of technical signs showing that the Nikkei was oversold, with some speculative buying of futures as well..."

'Teamwork'

House

British Public Hearings On Iraq War

The British are holding public hearings on their country's involvement in the Iraq war.

Right off the bat, on the very first day, information on the Bush administration's call for the Iraq war is coming out.

We know all of these things. We know that the neocons came into power with war in Iraq on their minds. We know that this interest was strongly present before 9-11. And we know that 9-11 became the excuse for going into Iraq.

What's interesting is that the USA needs historic myths. Many factions are very determined to turn spin lies into the reality of our nation's history. The main stream media contributes to this and there is element of the hard right which enjoys lying to the public.

So I would suspect that even at this late date in 2009, a significant percentage of people in the USA believe Iraq caused 9-11.

At least the British are taking on the action of understanding their own loss of reason.

Independent UK: Saddam options 'discussed a year before Iraq war'
The inquiry heard that even in early 2001, elements of the new US administration of President George Bush were already discussing the possibility of "regime change" in Iraq.

4+4=1

I love this.

The Republicans are out to show you that an elite education is not important when selecting people for the highest offices.

Okay, an elite education, we'll take that off the table but do we have to take basic mathematics off the table as well. Who knew that numbers, simple numbers were also Islamo fascist socialist terrorists.

This pie chart cart does not add up to 100%. Oh and by the way, they left off Guilliani with 57%.


Quagmire Take Three

Ahead of Obama's December 1st roll out of a new Afghanistan plan, McClatchy is reporting that he intends to surge another 34,000 troops into the region.

Man, this does not feel good.

The right will undoubtedly praise the number and some will cry that he is not providing enough troops. The neocons will drink champaign.

I will be wondering, how they arrived at the number. After all doesn't it have to do with how to secure pipelines and access into Central Asia? Am I wrong?

Afghanistan has the face of the Taliban and al Qaeda, but its main body is all about natural resources, energy and such and how to cultivate the resource rich Central Asian territories. Afghanistan is an excellent access point.

McClatchy: Obama plans to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan
As it now stands, the plan calls for the deployment over a nine-month period beginning in March of three Army brigades from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., and a Marine brigade from Camp Lejeune, N.C., for as many as 23,000 additional combat and support troops.

In addition, a 7,000-strong division headquarters would be sent to take command of U.S.-led NATO forces in southern Afghanistan — to which the U.S. has long been committed — and 4,000 U.S. military trainers would be dispatched to help accelerate an expansion of the Afghan army and police.

Reuters News Clips

The Market On Tuesday

At 8:10 a.m. futures are ever so slightly up.

According to the financial journalists there are two pieces of data coming out today that will influence the market's direction.

At 8:30 a.m. the revised third quarter GDP numbers come out. Its pretty simple, if they are better than expected the market could soar, if they are worse it will tank, and all points in between.

So at this moment, its all a crap shoot.

Personally I was somewhat surprised to see the DOW gain over 100 points yesterday given the bad news over the weekend on unemployment and scads of housing mortgages that are underwater including thousands of multifamily rental units in large cities.

Now there's a sentence that is way too long.

CNN: Flat open seen for stocks
...investors braced for a barrage of economic reports.
Reuters: Futures flat ahead of data, after HP results
...data on third-quarter GDP and consumer confidence...

"The data is going to be the market driver today, and after the rally we had yesterday, investors are waiting to see what the data comes in at before they jump in one way or the other..."

'Hail Mary'

Pomplamoose Music

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Mars Ocean


Fascinating article suggesting the possibility of an ancient ocean covering a large portion of Mars.

Space.com: Mars' Missing Ocean: A New Look at the Northern Plains
"It's very difficult to prove the positive and it's difficult to say there never was any water there. We have a lot of other indications that inundation of the northern plains to some degree or other, by some processes related to water, possibly mud flows, has occurred during martian history. But it's difficult to establish that in an absolute way that will get the whole community to believe it."

Nikkei Opens Lower On Tuesday

Its one of those infrequent scenarios where the Nikkei is opening down while the DOW closed up, and not just up, way up.

Reuters: Nikkei falters as exporters sold, JAL sinks

Damn Advocate Judges


Look everybody knows that dinner out is just not right unless there's a gun in the hors d'Ĺ“uvres.

What is this place - Russia?
"“When I hold you in my arms and I feel my finger on your trigger I know no one can do me no harm because happiness is a warm gun.”
Reuters: Judge blocks law allowing guns in bars
A judge on Friday blocked a Tennessee law that allowed people to bring handguns into restaurants and bars.

The law that took effect in July allowed handgun owners with permits to pack their pistols in places serving alcohol, providing the establishments made more than half their profits from food.

Climate Change

Recent articles in the AP and Guardian UK based on scientific observations indicate that the effects of climate change are greater and occurring faster than previous predictions.

Global Change research Project: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.

Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts.
U.N.: EU urges US and China to deliver carbon targets
A panel of UN scientists has recommended that developed countries make cuts of between 25 percent and 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to avoid a catastrophic rise in sea levels, harsher storms and droughts and climate disruptions.

The EU aims for deeper cuts than most other industrialized nations — pledging to move from a 20 percent cut below 1990 levels to 30 percent if others follow suit. By 2050, it wants to eliminate most emissions, with a target of up to 95 percent.

The US is considering a far lower cut — 17 percent from 2005 levels or about 3.5 percent from 1990. Japan has promised a 25 percent reduction from 1990 levels. Per head, Americans account for twice the emissions compared to Europeans and Japanese.

Palin - Common Sense Trumps An Ivy League Education

Remember the term - "common sense". This is the Palin mantra, and we will be hearing the term often, as she is out to convince America that she has boatloads of common sense.

Allow me to comment. If Palin had any common sense whatsoever, she would recognize that she is fundamentally ill equipped to be president. That would be common sense.

Palin is nothing more than the ultra right wing and neocon ticket to resuming Bush era madness.

Housing Boost

Pre-existing house sales are up. Certainly this is a boost to the economy.

Still there is a caveat as it is in part due to a first time home buyer credit vis-a-vis the stimulus, and a housing market that has lost value. It simple terms, its a buyers market and Uncle Sam is kicking in some dough to make it more tasty. That's all great except for the sellers' angst and money hit.

Its an American adage right, your pain is our gain.

Reuters: U.S. existing home sales seen at highest since July 2007
...buyers scrambled to take advantage of greater affordability and a first-time home buyer tax credit.
CNN: Existing home sales at highest level since 2007
...according to a real estate industry report issued Monday.

Yes And No


Somehow our economy is going to grow 3% and not produce new jobs until the middle of 2010 according to some big deal economists.

Can we trust this, I think not, but on the other hand all we really do is hang on as the roller coaster moves with or without our consent.

This CNN article is actually positive in its overall projections.

CNN: Economists bullish -- but not about jobs
...48 top forecasters now expect the economy to grow at a 3% annual rate during the last three months of this year, up from their prediction of 2.4% growth in October.

...the economists surveyed were slightly more optimistic about a recovery in housing and the likelihood that consumer spending would increase. They were also more bullish about the stock market, forecasting that the S&P 500 will reach 1,199 at the end of 2010, a gain of about 10% from Friday's closing level.

The Market On Monday

At 8:25 a.m. futures are way up. DOW futures are up 95 points.

Wall Street continues to baffle spectators like myself. There is a great deal of distress in the US economy and forgive me for not listing the partial to massive list. Yet the market keeps chugging along.

One thing that is very irritating about reading financial articles surrounding the market's future is this. If futures are up, the dollar is down, and commodities are up, just like this morning, financial journalists will find talking heads that will explain why everything is so rosy.

On the other hand when the opposite scenario is occurring, the journalists will seek out the investors that will go on record saying they are ready to throw in the towel.

We need better information, except for one miserable point. The market is not predictable by ordinary measures. It is a fickle thing, very amorphous and unshapely.

Reuters: Futures up after Bullard comment, weak dollar
James Bullard...said Sunday the central bank should extend its mortgage-related assets purchase program to give policy-makers more flexibility as they help the economy recover from a painful recession.
CNN: Wall Street may follow the world higher
...surge in commodity prices...

Oil also rallied, with the January contract climbing 93 cents to $78.40 a barrel.

'Enjoy The Silence'

Depeche Mode

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Basketball Rarity

Its a rare shot indeed, all net from behind the backboard.

Nikkei Is Closed On Monday

Japan is having a national holiday on Monday so the Nikkei is closed for the day.

All signs are pointing to a drop in the markets this week. We shall see.

Reuters: Global stocks slip, dollar gains on economy fears
Equity markets around the world fell as investors took profits as the end of 2009 approaches.

'Premiere'

The Wanda Sykes Show

Antarctic Climate Change


The news is harsh. We have a cycle of hard news on the economy, wars, neocons, and climate change. That's just for starts.

As we learn about the extent of climate change, the sober and serious quality sets in.

The Arctic may soon be ice free, Greenland is melting, and the Antarctic is melting. This is still only part of the change.

Guardian UK: World's largest ice sheet melting faster than expected
"If the current trend continues or gets worse, Antarctica could become the largest contributor to sea level rises in the world. It could start to lose more ice than Greenland within a few years..."

Upside Down Rental Properties

Another area in the housing market affected by the recession is the multifamily rental unit. Many are upside down on their mortgages, and a wave of disrepair and decaying buildings is the result. Many renters are feeling it head on as their homes fall into disrepair with code violations.

Its sounding like the pendulum is swinging back to pronounced urban decay. The money river is dry.

WaPo: Renters not immune to foreclosure crisis
In New York, housing analysts estimate that the number of apartment units in buildings at risk of default because of upside-down loans...could range from 50,000 to 100,000.

..loan performance on multifamily buildings is deteriorating at a dramatic pace. Some 65 to 75 percent of multifamily buildings could face problems refinancing at their current rates...

SNL - Al Gore

Weakened Policy

One wonders what the odds are of any significant reform getting passed.

On the sarcastic side, is it just me or does part of this entire senate battle seem like nothing more than posturing between two factions with significantly large egos.

USA Today: Health care's 'public option' would cover little of population
...cover less than 1.5% of the population, new estimates show.

Jacob Hacker, a Yale University political scientist who first proposed the public option, said the plan would still drive down health care costs despite the changes. For one thing, he said, it would offer consumers another choice in rural parts of the country where only one or two insurers offer policies.
USA Today: Side-by-side: House and Senate health bills
New voluntary long-term care insurance program would provide a basic benefit designed to help seniors and people with disabilities avoid going into nursing homes.

'Unmistaken Child'

Wonderful documentary - We watched it on Netflix.

Cloture


Formal debate on the health care reform bill will proceed.

In its present form the bill is like the proverbial dollar bill falling from the sky. You earn a dollar working hard. But 30% comes off the top for federal, state, and local taxes, and social security. The bill has taken a direct buckshot hit on its descent and 30% has been cleanly blown off.

But we are hardly finished.

Now you pay your mortgage with that 70 cents and that mortgage would include school taxes. So another let's say 5% to 10% is blown off on the descent.

And on and on it goes as you purchase the commodities that you need to live, more taxes are taken from that once proud dollar. As it hits the ground its one tattered shred of its former self. It now looks like a charred thread remnant.

And so it shall go with this health care reform bill. Whatever giveaways that already go to big health insurance companies and big pharma companies will only increase. Whatever aspects of the bill that resemble a new entitlement will decrease until a happy even more pointless accomplishment will be the final end result.

Legislation accomplished.

McClatchy: Senate votes to begin debate on health care overhaul
"Let me be perfectly clear," Lincoln said in a Senate floor speech. "I am opposed to a new government-administered health care plan as part of comprehensive health insurance reform."

While she said she was willing to keep the debate going, "I will not vote in favor of the proposal that has been introduced by (Senate Majority) Leader (Harry) Reid as it is written."

'Desperate For Love'

Over The Rhine

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Silliness

Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee after mass.

The first Catholic man tells his friends, "My son is a priest, when he walks into a room, everyone calls him 'Father'."

The second Catholic man chirps, "My son is a Bishop. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Grace'."

The third Catholic man says, "My son is a Cardinal. When he enters a room everyone says 'Your Eminence'."

The fourth Catholic man says, "My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room people call him 'Your Holiness'."

Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men gave her a look and said, "Well....?"

She proudly replies, "I have a daughter, slim, tall, 38 Double D breasts, 24" waist, and 34" hips. When she walks into a room, people say, "Oh My God."

Martha Stewart Calling Out Palin

NYC Terrorist Trial

Former Attorney General Ashcroft is coming out against the trial of 9/11 planners in NY City.

I believe that holding the trial in NY City is correct for several reasons.

First and foremost, holding the trial in a NY City federal courthouse, demonstrates the proper level of response to the accused. These are individual men, not a rogue nation.

Recall that the Bush/Cheney/neocon administration put forth the concept of a "war on terror" and then amplified this concept in the media. The reference to the "war on terror" was continuous and constant coming from the collective Bush administration's public remarks. This enabled the neocons to elevate al Qaeda to the level of super power, a super power with whom we are engaged in a war. According to the Bush/Cheney/neocon administration, this alleged super power has unreal force, they are amorphous, cunning, concealed, deadly brutal, they could be anywhere, be anyone. Al Qaeda is the perfect replacement for the previously feared communist.

The terrorists were alleged to be capable of using nuclear weapons. This amplification of a few thousand people into this super power, performed the greatest service for the neocons. It enabled the neocons to boost military spending, start the Iraq war, undermine democracy and dissent in the US, create Gitmo, regress to torture, and on and on and on, because now we had a real viable enemy. Also recall that in the salient Project For A New American Century AKA PNAC document, a new vicious enemy was viewed as the way to push forward the neocon agenda. Amplifying fear, and using the collective fear of Americans was the neocons' secret sauce.

And soon we were into the war in Iraq.

The point I am making is simple. The neocons needed a super enemy to justify their extremist militaristic agenda. Here Obama is stripping away that amplification and super enemy and having them tried in NY City.

Its a superlative move on Obama's part because it sends forth the plain old message that these people are not a rogue super power nation endowed with weapons that we have no answer for. These people are simply a handful of men who concocted and executed a fiendishly destructive plan using box cutters and an ideologically insane motivation.

I applaud Obama's move here. He is showing the world what these people really are, and he is deflating the neocon created mystique surrounding them.

Ashcroft and all hardline Republicans and neocons have to reject Obama's decision. If they supported the decision, they would be directly condemning their role in the dark period of the Bush administration.

Kansas City Star: Ashcroft criticizes plan to prosecute terrorists in federal court
“It also puts America at risk if it requires the revelation of information, which could be damaging to our intelligence-gathering and defense operations,” he added. “I think we are still in a very significant war on terror, and the administration doesn’t appear to believe it.”

England's Evolution

Starting in 2011, primary school children will be taught the science of evolution.

This will be required by law.

Oh yes, did we mention that Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution.

BBC: Evolution and history compulsory
"This is excellent news. Evolution is arguably the most important concept underlying the life sciences.

"Providing children with an understanding of it an early age will help lay the foundations for a surer scientific understanding later on."

He added: "Public authorities clearly need to do more to tackle the growing threat to the public's understanding of science from creationist-inspired beliefs and other pseudoscience".

Your Weekly Address

Health Care Reform Debate

Who knew these guys worked on Saturday.

Regardless, starting at 10 a.m. EST, the Senate will commence debate on a health care reform bill. The obvious partisan divide is the critical issue along with a handful of Democrats who also may not be on board.

My own little health insurance misery just arrived two days ago. Two months ago I sprained my knee. This was a bad sprain, swelling and bleeding that turned my leg from the knee down into a colorful array. I became alarmed thinking I might have a clot or some kind of blood poisoning based on the colorful array.

Long story short, I have had three co-pay type of bills since, with the latest one arriving Thursday. Let's just say the amount is on the large side of the equation. The type of large that will eliminate holiday present money and more.

How was I treated in the hospital? A physician's assistant saw me for 10 minutes and I had an ultrasound to check for a clot, that took 15 minutes. They had to have been billing me for my time in the waiting room which was around 6 hours.

CNN: What to expect in Senate's Saturday health care vote
...Saturday is expected to vote on whether to begin debate -- also known as invoking cloture...

...expand health insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans at an estimated cost of $849 billion over 10 years.

If Democrats do get the 60 votes needed to proceed, the legislative game only just begins. Expect several weeks of amendments being introduced, impassioned debates on the Senate floor and news conferences for and against the proceedings.

'Summer Movement 1'

Karajan conducts Vivaldi

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sleep

I am tired. Its been a long week.

The episode of Fringe is very good. I like the series.

Hitting the hay early. Working tomorrow as well...

'August'

Fringe

CNN- Blasting Evolution

Just because your calendar indicates that we are living in the year 2009, many are living in 1009 and earlier.

There is truth in this statement according to the Jungians. People are not homogenous. Some are truly existing as if the world is flat. Education is not part of this equation because beliefs will trump education. Mix that group with the MSM and you have a winning combination because the MSM thrives on the conflict of interests. The more riled you are, the better for business.

I'm Sowwy


Wow, the severity of the punishment is so wicked, this goes into the records as cruel and unusual.

He said, now get this, essentially, I'm sorry for taking the world down a path of financial ruin.

I know, shocking.

Well I don't know about you, but I definitely feel justice has been served.

McClatchy: Goldman's chief executive apologizes for part in fiscal crisis
..."there's also people who feel — and are right — that there's some meaningful things where we may have — not may have, certainly our industry is responsible for things. And we're a leader in our industry, and we participated in things that were clearly wrong, and we have reasons to regret and apologize for."

Crikees


Crikees, crocs everywhere, that is what they are saying.

Scientific investigators are saying that the proud Sahara desert was once the home of scads of crocs in all shapes and sizes.

Reuters: New fossils reveal a world full of crocodiles
...in what is now the Sahara desert reveal a once-swampy world divided up among a half-dozen species of unusual and perhaps intelligent crocodiles...

"Each of the crocs apparently had different diets, different behaviors. It appears they had divided up the ecosystem, each species taking advantage of it in its own way."
Crocodile
Which are the most vicious crocodiles?

All crocs can be vicious. They are able to attack with lightening speed and kill animals as heavy as they are. The most terrifying are the Nile and Australian crocodiles. Nile crocodiles can take down a water buffalo! They are crafty and can plot their hunting behavior to match their specific prey. source

The Market On Friday


At 8:20 a.m. futures are down baby down.

What is going on? Well its like this. Wall Street is showing you, you ingrate, that it is not pleased in the least little bit with your spending agility these days.

You are not out there throwing your money around and Wall street is going to teach you a lesson you will never forget. In other words, your retirement is being postponed...

Merrill Lynch, now there's a name we can trust, downgraded a whole slew of tech company stocks yesterday. The reason is the same reason. You are not out there buying, how many times do we have to tell you to start throwing your money around. We don't care if you don't have any. Credit is just as tasty and who cares if the interest rates are around 35%, we don't care.

You see this is the hidden colloquialism that comes after, "In God We Trust." That would be, "We Don't Care." This is just plain old happy conservative compassion. You are out there on your own brother, but buy my new computer. In fact if you buy two right now, we'll throw in a free eye exam or $50 off your next co-pay.

CNN: Stocks set for another slump
...Dell's disappointing earnings.

"Retail is looking generally weak - weaker than expected, given the high unemployment rate...It's showing that people are tightening their wallets. Retailers are going to be feeling it this year."
Reuters: Futures down on weak commodities, on quarterly results
"Low interest rates are supposed to make investors want to take risks, but that's not happening. People remain very nervous about the economy and especially about the consumer.

'It Takes Two'

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

Is there a better dance tune?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nikkei Opens Lower On Friday

Reuters: Nikkei slips as chip shares fall, but banks up

Colbert Eviscerates Palin

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Grand Old Pity Party
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

'Adams Family Values'

Calls For Geithner To Resign

It appears that Geithner may be history. Its curious that Republicans are all of a sudden referencing poll after poll as a catalyst for their patriotic American activity. Its politics, its hypocrisy.

McClatchy: Republicans berate Geithner, call for him to resign
"Conservatives agree that as point person, you failed. Liberals are growing in that consensus as well. Poll after poll shows Americans have lost confidence in this president's ability to handle the economy. For the sake of our jobs, will you step down from your post?"
US Department Of The Treasury: Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner - Written Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee - Financial Regulatory Reform - November 19, 2009
Firms took huge risks with borrowed funds and little of their own capital at stake. They funded long-term, illiquid assets with cheap, short-term debt. This risky behavior migrated from the regulated and partially regulated parts of our financial system to the almost entirely unregulated parts, making it difficult for us to control or even gauge its dimensions.

The result was a financial system vulnerable to bubbles, panic and collapse.

And unfortunately, the regulatory regime that failed so terribly leading up to the financial crisis is precisely the regulatory regime we have today. That is why recovery alone is not enough. To ensure the vitality, the strength and the stability of our economy going forward, we must bring our system of financial regulation into the twenty-first century. We need comprehensive financial reform.

The Daily Show

Venezuela Gun Crush

Venezuela has a ridiculously high crime rate. Most gun owners that I know are reasonably sane and law abiding. Its really the illegal end of the gun business that is the problem.

Reuters: Venezuela destroys 30,000 guns
...13,000 murders in 2007...

...6 million firearms circulating among the population of about 28 million...

Venezuela's murder rate is about 8 times that of the United States.

The Market On Thursday

At 8:00 a.m. futures are significantly down, the dollar is slightly stronger, oil is down, and the newest employment data comes out at 8:30 a.m.

Shite.

Quadruple whammy if you ask me, but hey you never know.

We keep reading that investors are worried about the strength of the economic recovery. I keep imagining guys in business suits, pacing as a group, smoking cigarettes, and occasionally bending over in a fit of tears.

We need to send letters to Obama. Its a very simple message, "Where are the jobs man?"

Reuters: Stock futures down as commodities fall, ahead of data
...investors will look for insight into the labor market with the release of weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m.
CNN: Stocks set for early slide
"The Dow has gone up too quickly. I just think it needs to call off a little bit."

'Criss Cross'

Monk

4 stars **** Sande - Monk's music improves with time. How can this be?

The head is filled with humor, precision, creativity, and uniqueness.